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  • Posts Tagged ‘Lucian Freud’


    Tuesday, March 8th, 2016
    Reflection (Self Portrait), 1985 (oil on canvas), Freud, Lucian (1922-2011) / Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Image

    Reflection (Self Portrait), 1985 (oil on canvas), Freud, Lucian (1922-2011) / Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Image

    A landmark Lucian Freud project for Ireland was announced today by the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).   The gallery has secured a long term loan of 50 works by the world renowned artist, regarded as one of the greatest figurative painters of the 20th century.  IMMA director Sarah Glennie said: “From September 2016, the IMMA Collection: Freud Project will be presented in a new, dedicated Freud Centre in the IMMA Garden Galleries for five years. With this extraordinary resource IMMA will create a centre for Freud research with a special programme of exhibitions, education partnerships, symposia and research that will maximise this exciting opportunity on offer in Ireland.”

    The museum announced highlights of its 2016 exhibition programme today. It will include solo exhibitions by Patrick Hennessy and the Italian artist Carol Rama. Artists will take over the courtyard in the summer for a project entitled A Fair Land in collaboration with Grizedale Arts.  In the Autumn there will be an exhibition of artist Emily Jacir, whose work explores various histories of migration, resistance and exchange through the telling of very personal stories. In a new invited curators initiative Indian curator Sumesh Sharma and Irish curator Kate Strain will present projects at IMMA that reflect their individual practices and bring new curatorial perspectives into IMMA’s programme.


    Thursday, February 11th, 2016
    The auction room during the sale.

    The auction room during the sale. (See posts on for February 6 and January 17, 2016)

    Pregnant Girl,  Lucian Freud’s portrait of his then 17 year old Irish lover Bernadine Coverly pregnant with their daughter Bella, sold for £16.1 million at Sotheby’s in London last night. Dated 1960-61 it was a record price for an early painting by the artist.  The work had been in the same collection for more than 30 years.  It was the top lot in a sale of contemporary art which brought in £69.5 million. There were auction records for Alberto Burri and Adrian Ghenie.  Burri’s Sacco e Rosso made £9.1 million and Ghenie’s 2014 work, Sunflowers in 1937, soared to £3.1 million.

    Alex Branczik, head of Contemporary Art, London said afterwards:  “Tonight we saw a confident art market, punctuated by some real high-points and a depth of bidding. There was much debate about the market ahead of the sale, but in spite of the broader economy, tonight proved that collectors will always compete for works of outstanding quality and rarity.”


    Saturday, February 6th, 2016

    Here is a video from Sotheby’s on Lucian Freud’s Pregnant Girl – capturing 17 year old Bernadine Coverly pregnant with Bella Freud – which comes up for auction on February 10.

    (See post on for January 17, 2016)


    Sunday, January 17th, 2016
    Lucian Freud - Pregnant Girl.

    Lucian Freud – Pregnant Girl.

    Lucian Freud’s Pregnant Girl will highlight Sotheby’s contemporary art evening auction in London on February 10.  The painting, estimated at £7-10 million,  marks a pivotal moment in the his career and shines a spotlight on a little-known moment in the artist’s life. Barely anything is known about his intense relationship with Bernadine Coverley.  The two met when she was 16 and he was already an established artist, 20 years her senior. Although their time together was relatively brief, it was to prove critical – marking both the beginnings of a life-long bond and, for Freud, a new approach to painting.

    Coverley, whose Irish Catholic parents ran the Black Horse pub in Brixton, was sent to a convent boarding school at the age of four. Feeling trapped and despondent under the strict governance of the convent, she twice tried to run away. By her teens, she craved the liberation and excitement of bohemian Soho – an intoxicating underground world of artists, musicians and writers. It was here, in a Soho pub in 1959, where Coverley first met Freud, who was captivated by her natural beauty and free spirit.

    Much has been written about Freud’s famously numerous partners – when he first met Coverley, he had already been twice married and had fathered a number of children – but little is known about their relationship. Pregnant Girl opens a window onto the most meaningful moment in the lives of both lovers, embodying the singular tenderness he felt for Bernadine, soon to be the mother of his daughters Bella and Esther. “It must have been a very happy time in her life, being pregnant with the man she loved and him wanting her to be there and paint her”, says their daughter Bella, “I think he was undoubtedly the love of her life.”

    After separating from Freud, Coverley left England (and its conservative views on unmarried mothers) with her two small daughters to start a new life in Morocco. The story of their bohemian lifestyle in Marrakesh wasimmortalised in Esther’s novel “Hideous Kinky”, and later turned into a hit film with Coverley played by Kate Winslet. Freud and Coverley died within just four days of each other in July 2011.


    Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

    The Brigadier, Lucian Freud’s portrait of Andrew Parker-Bowles in army dress uniform, sold for $34,885,000 at Christie’s in New York last night. The Post War and contemporary art evening sale brought in $331,809,000.  Parker-Bowles is dressed in his ceremonial uniform as a former Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry.  This is a rare portrait by Freud of a clothed sitter which has been widely acclaimed as an intensely personal portrait of a deeply private man.  Artist and sitter met through their shared love of horses.

    A Spider by Louise Bourgeois sold for $28,165,000.  These mammoth bronze sculptures have gained public and critical appreciation from Tate Modern in London to the Guggenheim in Bilbao and The National Gallery of Art in Washington. Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio by Lucio Fontana made $29,173,000, an untitled Cy Twombly  work sold for $17,525,000, Four Marilyns by Andy Warhol made $36,005,000 and Little Electric Chair by Warhol made $11,589,000.

    Lucian Freud - The Brigadier

    Lucian Freud – The Brigadier

    Louise Bourgeois - Spider

    Louise Bourgeois – Spider


    Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
    Lucian Freud  - Girl and Self Portrait

    Lucian Freud – Girl and Self Portrait

    AN outstanding rediscovered drawing by Lucian Freud comes up at Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art evening sale on November 17.  Girl and Self Portrait is the only self-portrait drawing by Freud known to feature his muse Kitty Garman, who was to become his first wife and whom he had painted devotedly from early 1947.

    It has remained in the possession of Sonia Brownell (1918-1980), second wife of George Orwell, since it was gifted to her by Lucian Freud in c1947.  It is estimated at £600,000-800,000.


    Monday, June 8th, 2015
    A letter from 1940 featuring a presumed self-portrait.

    A letter from 1940 featuring a presumed self-portrait.

    Never before seen letters from a teenage Lucian Freud to his friend the poet Stephen Spender come up at Sotheby’s contemporary art day auction in London on July 2. Ten unpublished letters written by the artist to the famous poet and critic Stephen Spender (1909–1995) have emerged from the Spender family collection after 70 years.

    Populated by drawings and watercolour paintings, one letter shows a man pulling a miniature horse on a lead, while in another, a figure balances on the head of a flying bird and a small man rides a horse atop an ear.

    Dating from 1939-42 while Freud was studying under the tutelage of  Cedric Morris at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Essex they are estimated at £28,000-42,000.


    Monday, June 1st, 2015
    Lucian Freud, Four Eggs on a Plate, 2002. Copyright Sotheby's

    Lucian Freud, Four Eggs on a Plate, 2002. Copyright Sotheby’s  UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £989,000

    The late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, a frequent visitor to the family estate in Lismore, Co. Waterford, always brought eggs to Lucian Freud when she went to London.  In return Freud gave Four Eggs on a Plate as a gift to the Duchess in 2002.   Their enduring friendship is highlighted by the sale of the painting at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction  in London on July 1. It is estimated at £100,000-150,000.

    Deborah was youngest of the six Mitford sisters who captivated British society in the 1940s and 50s – marrying Andrew Cavendish in 1941. Cavendish became the 11th Duke of Devonshire in 1950 and she dedicated her life to the running of Chatsworth. The Duchess was famed for a somewhat eccentric pursuit for a society beauty: a passion for chickens. Freud’s gift is a tender memento of a lifelong bond between the great artist and the larger-than-life duchess.

    Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Senior International Specialist in Contemporary Art said: “We’re incredibly excited to be offering a work of such personal significance to both Lucian Freud and the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. This small, exquisitely beautiful painting was a treasured gift and today it stands as a token of their enduring friendship. Four Eggs on a Plate is a painting like no other. We see Freud’s tremendous virtuosity as a painter, transforming a simple subject into a work of extraordinary power – and we see the portrait of a friendship between an artist and a duchess.” Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, died aged 94, in September 2014.

    UPDATE: This work sold for £989,000 after a bidding battle by seven bidders.


    Thursday, May 14th, 2015
    Mark Rothko - Number 10 sold for $81.9 million

    Mark Rothko – Number 10 sold for $81.9 million

    An $81 million Rothko and a record breaking Freud brought Christie’s to a benchmark in art auction history last night – the first $1 billion week for the art world.  The Post-War and Contemporary art sale in New York last evening made $658,532,000. The top lot of the sale was Rothko’s No. 10, an ethereal masterpiece by the artist from 1958 which made  $81,925,000.  Seven collectors, including clients from the U.S., Europe and Asia, chased the painting past the $50 million dollar mark.

    Lucian Freud - Benefits Supervisor Resting made a world record $56,165,000

    Lucian Freud – Benefits Supervisor Resting made a world record $56,165,000

    Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Resting sold for the world auction record price of $56,165,000. The previous artist’s auction record of $33.6 million, set at Christie’s London in 2008. The square-format depiction of Freud’s model Sue Tilley, which drew in viewers to Christie’s presale exhibitions in Hong Kong, London and New York, had never been offered at auction before. Four bidders chased the work up and over the $30 million mark.

    The stellar collection assembled by art world figures Ileana Sonnabend and her daughter Nina Sundell gave the sale a lively start. All nineteen works found buyers and the group totalled $60.1 million.

    There were eight artist world auction records: Freud; Robert Ryman ($20,605,000); Robert Rauschenberg ($18,645,000); Giovanni Anselmo ($6,437,000);  Hans Hofmann ($6,325,000); Sturtevant ($5,093,000); Rudolf Stingel ($4,757,000) and Carroll Dunham (4509,000).

    (See posts on for April 22, April 17  and April 15, 2015).


    Friday, April 17th, 2015

    Masterpieces by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Peter Doig will feature at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art evening auctions in New York on May  11 and 13.  Bacon’s Portrait of Henrietta Moraes is one of the most seductive portraits of a woman he ever made. It will be presented alongside Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Resting, a masterful reworking of the traditional theme of the nude.  This is one of Freud’s most famous and iconic paintings.

    An icon of contemporary painting, Peter Doig’s Swamped conjures an extraordinary sense of atmosphere around a single solitary canoe. Rendered using a vast array of painterly techniques and processes, Swamped encapsulates the inimitable approach has come to define Doig’s contribution to the history of painting.

    Francis Bacon - Portrait of Henrietta Moraes (c$35 million).

    Francis Bacon – Portrait of Henrietta Moraes (c$35 million).  Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2015  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $47,765,000

    Peter Doig - Swamped ($20-30 million).

    Peter Doig  (born 1959) – Swamped ($20-30 million). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2015.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $25,592,000 A WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

    Lucian Freud - Benefits Supervisor Resting ($30-50 million).

    Lucian Freud – Benefits Supervisor Resting ($30-50 million).  Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2015. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $56,165,000, A WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST