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The anonymous bidder that last week splurged a whopping $1.9 million on a nude portrait of Bea Arthur has been revealed as none other than Jimmy Kimmel — at least according to a joke Friday afternoon.
Just before 12:30 p.m., comedian Jeffrey Ross tweeted a photo of himself holding up the portrait with a caption that read “Biggest surprise of my life. Thank you @JimmyKimmel – the most generous guy in the world!”
Kimmel responded in kind by joking, “@RealJeffreyRoss Bea is watching over us, but especially you.”
But Friday evening, Kimmel denied making the purchase, tweeting:
Contrary to “news” reports, I didn’t buy the Bea Arthur painting – not even for @realjeffreyross – but I did buy the Mona Lisa Lampanelli
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 25, 2013
A rep for the ABC late night host tells The Hollywood Reporter the painting was a prop from Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
John Currin’s 1991 nude made headline’s last week as one of the hot-ticket items in a record-breaking Christie’s auction that brought in a whopping $495 million for 70 lots on the block. The work, titled “Bea Arthur Naked,” was sold at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale in New York City on Wednesday, May 15.
The identity of the secret bidder had not been revealed.
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