The artist Lucian Freud has died in London aged 88. He had been one of the most highly regarded living artists in the world, known particularly for his uncompromising paintings of nudes. His work is much sought after by collectors and museums.
A grandson of psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud, he was born in Berlin in 1922 and fled to Britain with his jewish family in 1933. He became a British citizen in 1939.
In a statement his New York-based art dealer and close friend William Acquavella said the realist painter died on Wednesday following a brief illness, but gave no further details.
The painting above, Woman Smiling, 1958-59, is the only single portrait by Freud of Suzy Boyt who was to mother five of the artist’s children. It was sold by Christie’s in London in June for £4,745,250. Christie’s described it as the most significant work by Freud to be offered at auction since Benefits Supervisor Sleeping sold at Christie’s New York in May 2008 for $33.6 million – a world record price for a work by a living artist. It was bought by Roman Abramovich.
As a result of Mr. Freud’s death the new most expensive work by a living artist is Flag by Jasper Johns. Part of the Michael Crichton collection it sold on May 11, 2010 at Christie’s New York for US$28,642,500.