Lucian Freud 'masterpiece' fetches £3m
Friday 14 October 2011
A small Lucian Freud painting described as an "indisputable masterpiece" sold for more than £3 million when it went under the hammer at auction.
Boy's Head, measuring just 21.6cm by 15.9cm, was bought by an anonymous bidder for £3,177,250.
But the work - which depicts Charlie Lumley, Freud's neighbour and one of his most recognisable subjects - did not meet pre-sale estimates, which had suggested it could go for as much as £4 million.
The work, painted in 1952, shows the subject's head supported by his hand.
It led a Sotheby's sales evening last night which saw one private collection, entitled Italian Identity, go for a combined total of £39,456,950, in an auction of 20th-century Italian art.
This was in line with pre-sale estimates which suggested the works could reach between £34,982,000 and £48,338,000.
The private collection included Alberto Burri's Combustione Legno of 1957, which set a new record for the artist at auction.
The work, which was estimated before the sale to fetch between £800,000 and £1,200,000, drew interest from more than five bidders and finally sold for the sum of £3,177,250.
Cheyenne Westphal, chairman of Contemporary Art Europe at the auction house, said last night: "We were able to bring to market this evening this important private collection which offered works of breath-taking scope and quality as well as freshness to the market.
"Collectors responded with enthusiasm, giving us the highest total achieved this evening for any sale of 20th-century Italian art ever staged.
"Highlights of our sale of contemporary art included an indisputable masterpiece by Lucian Freud, the great legend of the London School."
Burri was one of six artists to set new records at auction. The others were Leon Kossoff, Wim Delvoye, Francesco Lo Savio, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Giuseppe Penone, a Sotheby's spokesman said.
All prices included buyer's premium.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 2 Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
- 5 Kate Moss on the naked Calvin Klein shoot and the obsession that ended her relationship
Jay Z's Tidal could be about to lose Beyonce's music in ultimate humiliation
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
ASAP Rocky gives nauseating response to explicit Rita Ora rap: 'I'm not saying she's a terrible person'
Big Brother 2015 new housemates: Simon Gross returns as stripper Marc O'Neill, model Harry Amelia Martin and X Factor reject Sam Kay join
Burning Man festival revellers accidentally torch prehistoric artefacts in Israel
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote