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Take Home a Nude raises $900,000 for the New York Academy of Art

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Naomi Watts   
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The New York Academy of Art took over Sotheby's on York Avenue last night for its annual Take Home a Nude fundraiser. After a silent-auction cocktail hour in the galleries with the event's now signature stilt-walkers came the live bidding. Last year, NYAA chairman of the board Eileen Guggenheim described the event as "the sample sale of art." This year she emphasized two things. First, the fact that the caliber of the art and the collectors involved is light-years beyond other fundraisers on the circuit. "I want to buy everything—it's really become a major auction," Guggenheim said. Second, she explained, she was excited about partnering with online auction house Paddle8. "This year, there's even a Buy It Now price for each lot, like eBay!"

The adults stayed for a seated dinner while the NYAA's younger patrons zipped downtown for a party at the still unofficially opened Bar Nana—despite hosting a bunch of events since fashion week, Nana doesn't open to the public until Thursday. Taking the stage, the evening's honoree, Walton Ford, said, "Tonight's not about the parties, and definitely not about me. It's about the Academy." Modest he may be, but there's no denying that Ford drew a crowd, one that included L'Wren Scott, First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, and Misha Nonoo with her husband, Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes. Daphne Guinness told Style.com, "Usually I'm a recluse. But Walton called me up two days ago and asked if I was coming, so I said, 'Of course!'" Having nothing to wear, the usually couture-clad Guinness designed her own dress and had it sewn up just for the occasion.

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