"Welcome to Britain": Tabloids print photo of naked Carla Sarkozy
(dpa) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new wife Carla were given the particular kind of welcome that the British tabloid press is feared for Wednesday when papers splashed an old photograph of a naked Carla on their pages.
"Welcome to Great Britain, Madame Sarkozy" was the headline in the Daily Mirror which published the black-and-white picture on an inside page as Sarkozy and his wife were beginning a two-day state visit.
A day earlier, the auction house Christie's had announced plans to auction the photograph made when Carla was a fashion model. The photo, shot by photographer Michel Comte, posed her in a style reminiscent of the neo-impressionist artist Georges Seurat.
Christie's, defending its action, said that Carla Sarkozy, now 40, is "one of the most beautiful women in the world" and that the auction house did not engage in censorship.
"It's a work of art. It was shot in 1993 when Miss Bruni was a model and it's a tasteful nude portrait executed by a well known, respectable artist", said Milena Sales, spokeswoman from Christie's.
"Christie's stands by the works it represents to its clients, it doesn't censor or pass judgement on any content or subject matter. It's a perfectly respectable work of art."
The photograph, estimated to be worth 2,500 euros (3,800 dollars), is to be auctioned in New York on April 10.
The Sun newspaper said Carla Sarkozy was "outraged" that the photo was being published at this particular moment, coming the same day that she and her husband are to be received by Queen Elizabeth II.