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Elton John Confirms Ownership of Photo Seized by Police

An art exhibit seized by police as part of a child pornography probe is owned by Sir Elton John, it has been confirmed.

The photograph was seized by detectives the day before an exhibition of the musician's private collection was due to go on public display at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

It is now being examined by Northumbria Police to see if it breaches pornography legislation.

Entitled Klara And Edda Belly-Dancing, the photograph depicts an image of two naked young girls and was taken by controversial American photographer Nan Goldin.

It was among 149 photographs owned by Sir Elton which formed the Thanksgiving exhibition at the Baltic arts centre, on the banks of the River Tyne in Gateshead.

The rest of the photographs went on show last Friday as planned.

A statement on Sir Elton's official website today confirmed the image was owned by him.

It read: ``The photograph entitled Klara And Edda Belly-Dancing (1998) is one of 149 images comprising the Thanksgiving installation by renowned US photographer Nan Goldin.

``The photograph exists as part of the installation as a whole and has been widely published and exhibited throughout the world.

``It can be found in the monograph of Ms Goldin's works entitled The Devil's Playground (Phaidon, 2003), has been offered for sale at Sotheby's New York in 2002 and 2004, and has previously been exhibited in Houston, London, Madrid, New York, Portugal, Warsaw and Zurich without any objections of which we are aware.''

Concerned management at the flagship Baltic arts centre called in police and officers removed the exhibit from the multi-million pound art gallery last Thursday, the day before the exhibition opened.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: ``We attended the Baltic last Thursday at the invitation of management who were seeking advice about an item from an exhibition prior to it going on public display.

``This item is being assessed and Northumbria Police in consultation with the CPS is investigating the circumstances surrounding it.''

A spokeswoman for the Baltic said: ``We are working alongside the police and are not in a position to comment further.''

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