NEW YORK – A nude photo of France's first lady was auctioned Thursday for $91,000, about 30 times more than anticipated, the Christie's auction house said.
The image was taken by photographer Michel Comte in 1993, when Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was one of the world's most sought-after models.
The 13-by-10-inch photo was bought by an anonymous bidder on behalf of a collector, Christie's said.
It was part of a selection of photographs auctioned by collector Gert Elfering that also included nude photos of models Lauren Hutton, Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss. The money from the sale of the Bruni-Sarkozy photo will go to the Swiss charity Sodis, which provides clean drinking water to developing nations, Christie's said.
A late-night call to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office was not immediately returned Thursday. The office previously declined to comment on the sale, saying it concerned the leader's private life.
The photo had been expected fetch $3,000 to $4,000 at the auction, Christie's said.
Sarkozy divorced his second wife in October and married the Italian-born former model, now a successful singer, in February after a quick courtship. Bruni-Sarkozy made her first state visit as France's first lady in late March with a two-day trip to Britain, where she and her husband attended a lavish banquet held by Queen Elizabeth II.