Did Jimmy Kimmel Purchase the Nude Bea Arthur Painting?

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@realjeffreyross/Twitter

The painting of Bea Arthur in the buff was recently purchased on May 15 for a whopping $1.9 million. The buyer, it turns out, was not late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, who joked about buying it as a gift for his friend and fellow comedian Jeffrey Ross.

On Friday, Ross tweeted a photo of himself standing behind the piece of art. The caption read, "Biggest surprise of my life. Thank you @JimmyKimmel — the most generous guy in the world!”

Kimmel responded on Twitter writing, "@RealJeffreyRoss Bea is watching over us, but especially you."

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Later, Kimmel tweeted: "Contrary to 'news' reports, I didn't buy the Bea Arthur painting — not even for @realjeffreyross — but I did buy the Mona Lisa Lampanelli"

The Hollywood Reporter, who first reported the story of the hefty 'purchase,' confirmed from a Kimmel rep that the painting Ross was photographed with was not the actual painting, but a prop that was created for "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Artist John Currin painted the famous portrait in 1991. Arthur, who died in 2009, never actually posed for it.

"I had a vision in my head of Bea Arthur, and I found a picture of her," Currin said, according to the Christie's auction website. "I was going to put a scarf ensemble on her like that from her Maude days, and I drew the body just to drape it. It was then that I realized that the painting was fantastic as it was."

Arthur was best known for her roles on TV shows like "Golden Girls" and "Maude." She also made a (clothed) appearance in the infamous television disaster, "The Star Wars Holiday Special."

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