An actor on hit U.S. TV series The Sopranos has sold the most expensive piece of memorabilia related to the show - an original painting of the series' stars TONY and CARMELA SOPRANO - for $175,000 (GBP87,500).
The Duke and Duchess of North Caldwell, painted by Federico Castelluccio who played Italian hit man Furio Giunta on The Sopranos, was sold to a Toronto, Canada oil executive earlier this month (Jul08).
The painting portrays the crime boss couple - played by James Gandolfini and Edie Falco - staring intensely as they replicate a 15th century pose of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino.
Castelluccio says of his piece: "I had just finished the show's fourth season, where Furio and Carmela had this placid love affair that was never consummated. James Gandolfini has the same strong presence as the Duke, and I knew there was going to be a dividing line (between Tony and Carmela), and that my character was the cause of their split at the end of the season."
Art collector Keya Morgan, who brokered the deal, confirms: "It's an unbelievable painting, and not only is it a record for The Sopranos but it is a very high price for a living artist at his age. (Vincent) Van Gogh never accomplished anything like this. He died broke."