Bea Arthur rose to fame as a strong, take-no-crap woman on sitcoms like "Maude" and "The Golden Girls", and though her deep voice and severe, no-nonsense haircut were usually regarded as masculine traits, some men found her attitude sexy. One man in particular found it sexy enough to want to paint her in the buff, and he did.
Artist John Currin painted the Golden Girl in a nude pose in 1991, although he stressed that he worked from a clothed photo of the actress. The painting has now gone for $1.9 million at auction, but Facebook apparently doesn't want the photo posted on their site. According to The Daily Beast, they weren't allowed to upload it due to the exposed breasts in the painting, although Facebook has said before that art doesn't apply to that rule.
Neither I, nor any of the journalists who are admins of @thedailybeast’s Facebook page can post. 24 hr ban b/c of a piece of Bea Arthur art.
— Brian Ries (@moneyries) May 15, 2013
Facebook has caught some backlash before due to their strict "no breast" policy after taking down photos of mothers breastfeeding and showing off pregnant body art. Site reps eventually apologized to The Daily Beast, saying, “Our policy prohibits photos of actual nude people, not paintings or sculptures. Unfortunately, this image was erroneously removed under the same clause we use to prevent more graphic images from propagating on the site.”
Christie's Auction House sold the piece to an anonymous bidder, but the price was expected to go much higher than it did. When Currin's show opened in the early '90s it was lambasted by art critics, one of whom said that the pieces were "acrid fantasy portraits of menopausal women -- images suspended, in his words, 'between the object of desire and the object of loathing.'"
Arthur was aware of the painting before her death in 2009 and said that perhaps Currin was simply drawn to strong women.
"Maybe [Currin] was attracted to the feminist movement of the 1970s. Because of 'Maude,' I was the Joan of Arc of feminism. He certainly couldn't have done anything with Marlo Thomas of 'That Girl.'"
Check out the painting below, courtesy of Christie's. Could be NSFW depending on your view of nude art.