Nude portrait photo of Sarkozy's wife for auction

PARIS Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:57pm EDT

France's first lady Carla Bruni listens as her husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, addresses members of both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery of the Palace of Westminster in London March 26, 2008. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

France's first lady Carla Bruni listens as her husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, addresses members of both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery of the Palace of Westminster in London March 26, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Stephen Hird

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PARIS (Reuters) - A nude portrait of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni will go under the hammer in New York next month, according to auctioneers Christie's.

The 13 x 10 1/8 inch gelatin silver black and white photograph was taken in 1993, when Bruni was one of the world's top fashion models, and is being sold by art collector Gert Elfering.

It is expected to fetch $3,000 to $4,000 when it is sold in New York on April 10, according to the Christie's web site.

Sarkozy married Bruni, 40, in February after a whirlwind romance that began shortly after his divorce from his second wife Cecilia.

Their relationship has coincided with a sharp fall in Sarkozy's approval ratings which have tumbled as voters judged that the president's glitzy lifestyle jarred with his responsibilities and status as head of state.

Sarkozy and his new wife are due to pay a state visit to Britain this week during which they will be hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie, edited by Richard Meares)

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