In a release circulated this morning, Christie’s announced that they will be selling a number of Lucian Freud works in London this June, including a small but important portrait:
Christie’s will offer Woman Smiling, 1958-59, by Lucian Freud (b.1922) at the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 28 June 2011 in London (estimate: £3.5 million to £4.5 million). A landmark portrait described by esteemed art critic Robert Hughes as the turning point in the artist’s career, it is the only single portrait of Suzy Boyt, the woman who was to mother five of the artist’s children. It is 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.
Formerly in collection of Mrs. Ian Fleming, the wife of the author best known for creating the British spy James Bond, it is now being offered from an Important European Private collection in which it has resided since 1985. Mrs. Fleming was an important early patron of Freud and subject of his paintings. She was the first owner and the seller of Woman Smiling when it last appeared at auction at Christie’s in 1973, selling for £5,040.
At the same sale on 28 June, Christie’s will offer 5 drawings by Lucian Freud from the Collection of Kay Saatchi – the most important group of works on paper by the artist ever offered at auction