Virgin Mary painting with elephant poop sold for millions

Posted Jul 2, 2015 by Owen Weldon
Chris Ofili's painting of a black Virgin Mary, which was decorated with elephant poop, sold for millions of dollars at Christie's.
Chris Ofili’s  The Holy Virgin Mary  painting decorated with elephant manure was shown at the Broo...
Chris Ofili’s "The Holy Virgin Mary" painting decorated with elephant manure was shown at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999. New York's Mayor Giuliani described the Ofili canvas as "sick". The "sick canvas" was sold at auction at Christie’s in London on June 30 for $4.6 million.
© Chris Ofili
On Tuesday, the painting sold for more $4.6 million, which is an auction record for Ofili, a British artist.
The portrait, which was created in 1996, was acquired in 2007 by a professional gambler from Australia, and before that Charles Saatchi, an advertising executive, owned it.
The gambler, as well as art collector, is David Walsh. Walsh is the founder of the Museum of Old and New Art. He sold the Holy Virgin because he wanted to raise money to build a new wing for his museum. He wants to house a number of large scale works by James Turrell.
Ofili's painting made headlines in the past when it made its way to the Brooklyn Museum in New York. It was part of a group exhibition of British artists.
The painting once caught the attention of former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, and he was appalled by the use of elephant poop being used in a depiction of the Virgin Mary. He called it sick and offensive to the Catholic church. At one point in time the painting was damaged by someone who decided to throw some white pain onto the canvas, but it was saved after it was quickly cleaned off.