Iconic 'Kiss' photo sold at Paris auction

A photograph of one of the world's most famous kisses has sold at a Paris auction for approximately 10 times its estimated sale price.

The photographed image of one of the world's most famous kisses has sold at a Paris auction for approximately 10 times its estimated sale price.

Françoise Bornet, the woman in the 1950 photograph, sold her original print of Robert Doisneau's famous Baiser de l'Hôtel de Ville (Kiss at City Hall) for about $250,000 at the Dassault auction house Monday.

The photo, which bore Doisneau's signature and stamp, had been estimated to sell for upwards of $25,000.

"It is extraordinary. We weren't expecting very much. I am very moved. For me, this sale marks a new beginning. I will buy a print so as never to forget," she told Agence France-Presse.

Bornet, 75, said she decided to sell her print to help finance a documentary production company.

Though seemingly spontaneous, Bornet and her then beau Jacques Carteaud (now deceased) posed for Doisneau's photo, which has become an iconic image of the romantic city of Paris.

Doisneau had been working on a photo spread about Paris lovers for Life magazine and, after spotting the young couple, asked if they would pose for his camera. A few days later, Doisneau sent Bornet a print of the image. The couple, however, did not stay together.

Baiser de l'Hôtel de Ville appeared in the magazine spread and then remained in the archives of the Rapho photo agency, Doisneau's employer. More than 30 years later, a poster company picked up the image, which became a global bestseller. In 1992, an estimated 410,000 copies of the poster had sold worldwide, setting a world record.

Over the years, several couples have claimed to be the subjects of the photo. However, after one pair made their claim on television in 1992, Doisneau set the record straight.

"I would have never dared to photograph people like that," he said in an interview at the time. "Lovers kissing in the street, those couples are rarely legitimate."

Years later, Bornet met up with Doisneau and showed him the original print he had given her.

With files from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation