The folks over at eBay Celebrity let us know about a really cool item up for auction this week, and we in turn wanted to tell you. You may already know that Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga teamed up on Tony’s album Duets II. What you may not know is that after that session, Lady Gaga had a photo shoot with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz for a spread in the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair. And right after that photo session, Lady Gaga agreed to pose nude for a sketch by Tony Bennett.
Which brings us to today’s very remarkable listing, an Original Charcoal Portrait of Lady Gaga Drawn and Signed by Tony Bennett
Lady Gaga, known for her outrageous outfits, actually seemed to have some trepidation about posing nude. According to the Hollywood Reporter, on her Thanksgiving special called A Very Gaga Thanksgiving she said, “I walked in and said, ‘Well Tony, here we are’ and I dropped my robe and I got into position. I felt shy and thought, ‘It’s Tony Bennett, why am I naked?’”
The listing describes the work of art:
Tony Bennett created this charcoal portrait of Lady Gaga using Prismacolor Premier Art vine Charcoal sticks working on Fabriano Artisico heavy weight watercolor paper. The portrait measures 18″ x 24″ and is signed by the artist, using his given name “Benedetto” which is how Tony Bennett signs his original artwork.
Tony Bennett is best known for his singing, but has become quite well known for his art as well. This portrait is sure to enhance his name recognition in the art world, perhaps as much as what his signature song “I Left my Heart in San Francisco” did for his musical career. Believe it or not, the Duets II album is Tony Bennett’s first album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. This makes him the oldest living artist to ever receive this kind of recognition. He says he is glad this kind of fame came late in his life (he is 85). He told the Wall Street Journal: “There are so many performers that become very famous when they’re young and unfortunately they run into tragedy because it’s too overwhelming for them.” Sage words, given what happened to one of the other famous young female singers on his Duets II album, Amy Winehouse. Sometimes fame can be a terrible price to pay for those unprepared for the spotlight.
We tracked down the Duets II video with Lady Gaga, below.
Proceeds from the sale of the items benefits two charities: Born this Way and Exploring the Arts. Born this Way is Lady Gaga’s charity, which will be officially launching in 2012, and will focus on youth empowerment and equality by addressing issues like self-confidence, wellbeing, anti-bullying, mentoring, and career development and will utilize digital mobilization as one of the means to create positive change. Exploring the Arts is Tony Bennett and his wife Susan Benedetto’s charity with the mission of strengthening the role of the arts in public high school education.
We think it’s fabulous that two famous artists would come together to help support these worthy causes. We celebrate Lady Gaga who has the audacity to continue to challenge the mores of people and to be different in such a charming, beautiful way. She is an inspiration to everyone, young and old. As Tony said ““Lady Gaga is a true artist that defies all categories.” And Tony Bennett has captured her perfectly, at the height of her talent and at the beginning of what we hope is a long and successful career. At least as enduring as Tony Bennett!