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Nude photo of Madonna auctioned for $37,500 in NYC

Feb. 13 2009, Published 2:58 p.m. ET

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A full-frontal, nude photo of a 20-year-old Madonna has sold for $37,500 at auction, an apparent record auction price for a photograph of the superstar singer. An unnamed European buyer bought the picture , which had been expected to sell for up to $15,000, according to Christie's auction house.

Madonna, then known as Madonna Louise Ciccone, was a dancer trying to make ends meet when she answered a newspaper ad seeking a nude model. She may have earned as little as $25 for the 1979 photo session.

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Lee Friedlander's raw, explicit black-and-white image appeared in Playboy in 1985. Friedlander has said of the photo session that Madonna "seemed very confident, a street-wise girl. She told me she was putting a band together but half the kids that age are doing that. She was a good professional model."

The photograph auctioned Thursday was one of six from that shoot that appeared in Playboy; the other five pictures were sold together in 2003 for $7,170.

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