Madonna to auction art for Afghan, Pakistani girls

Pop star Madonna and Sotheby’s announced Wednesday the auction of a Cubist masterpiece by French artist Fernand Leger to support an education project for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The painting “Trois femmes a la table rouge,” estimated at $5-7 million, will go on sale in New York on May 7, with proceeds going to the Ray of Light Foundation.

Madonna, who has been made enormously wealthy through her pop singing career, said she wanted to help “countries where female education is rare or non-existent. I cannot accept a world where women or girls are wounded, shot or killed for either going to school or teaching in girls’ schools.”

“I want to trade something valuable for something invaluable — educating girls,” she said in a statement.

Madonna has owned the painting since 1990. It goes on view in Hong Kong and London before returning to New York in time to join the spring evening sale of Impressionist and modern art.