Stephen Harper nude painting sold to Vancouver man for $20K

The controversial nude portrait of former prime minister Stephen Harper has been sold for $20,000 to a Vancouver man who describes the piece as "biting political satire."

'Every time I look at it I burst out laughing,' says new owner of nude painting

Emperor Haute Couture by artist Margaret Sutherland has been sold to Frederick Ghahramani, who says, 'I can't wait to get it out in front of as many people as possible.' (CBC)

The controversial nude portrait of former prime minister Stephen Harper has been sold for $20,000 to a Vancouver man who describes the piece as "biting political satire."

Harper did not pose for the painting by artist Margaret Sutherland, entitled Emperor Haute Couturewhich shows him reclining on a chaise longue, with a dog at his feet, as he is offered a cup of Tim Hortons coffee.

"I can't wait to get it out in front of as many people as possible," the new owner, Frederick Ghahramani, told Rita Celli on CBC Radio's Ontario Today.

"It's not about the nudity. It's a good way of capturing — and I think the artist has done an excellent job of capturing the mood of the last 10 years, where you have basically had a whole group of people in Canada … who felt silenced, whether they are government ministers down to scientists, down to public servants."

​Listen to the full interview below.

The painting was first sold for $5,000 in May 2012 to public servant Danielle Potvin, who remained anonymous until she retired and decided to sell the painting earlier this month. 

The Gatineau, Que., woman said she was warned by her human resources department that "it would be professional suicide to reveal myself as the owner" while she was still employed by the federal government.

Potvin told Radio-Canada she sold it for $20,000 — more than double the $8,800 she was hoping for.

Ghahramani said he is pleased with the purchase.

"Every time I look at it I burst out laughing," Ghahramani said. "I do that with all biting political satire. I also understand that it doesn't come from a vulgar point of making fun of the prime minister. It comes from a very dark, depressing point."

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