The Associated Press
The Washington Post
September 16, 2008
CARACAS, Venezuela -- A prison-cell painting by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been auctioned for US$255,000 to raise money for his socialist party.
Chavez ally and congresswoman Hiroshima Bravo says three Venezuelan businessmen bought the work, called "The Yare Moon," last week.
Chavez painted it while serving a two-year sentence in the Yare prison after leading a failed coup in 1992.
It depicts a full moon through a jail cell's barred window, and a message written in red letters on the wall below the window reads: "The mill of the gods grinds slowly!"
About 40 people joined the bidding, which opened around US$14,000, Bravo told The Associated Press on Monday. The painting ultimately fetched more cash than works by some of Venezuela's top artists.
Bravo said her colleagues were surprised by the price, but considered the painting a symbolic part of Venezuelan history.