Lucian Freud’s Painting of His Daughter Expected to Fetch $24 M

Lucian Freud’s Painting of His Daughter Isobel is up for an Auction at Sotheby’s and Is Expected to Fetch Up to $24 M.

Feb 24, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Painter Lucian Freud and his painting
Via Wikipedia and the Lucian Freud Archive, edit by Angela Davic


Lucian Freud’s painting of his daughter Isobel could fetch up to $24 million at Sotheby’s auction. The auction will take place in London on March 1. Also, an interesting thing about the painting is that it was hidden from the public eye for about two decades. Now, fans of Lucian Fraud‘s work will finally get to see his artwork.


Lucian Freud’s Painting Follows the Concept of a “Paternal Absence”

Lucian Freud’s 1997 portrait of his daughter Isobel reading a novel, Courtesy of Sotheby’s


It took Freud a month to complete the portrait of his daughter. During that time, she posed for 70 sittings in his West London studio. He finished the painting in 1997 and named it “Ib Reading”. Isobel Boyt seems like she is reading Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. This is not the only picture where Freud painted his daughter. This painting is one of five.


Also, this photo is one of 30 in which the artist painted his children. According to Sotheby’s description, many of these pieces Freud finished following a “paternal absence”. This artwork has been part of the same private collection since its equirment. The last exhibition where the public could see this painting, happened in New York in 2000.


Via The Telegraph


Freud also depicted Isobel with the father of her children in a painting in 1992. At that time, she was carrying Alice, her youngest daughter. “My father never chose the pose of his sitters. He would often make suggestions, but he never said, ‘I want you wearing this and sitting there’. The studio also had limitations”, Isobel, 60, said in a statement through Sotheby’s.

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Freud’s Auction Record: Large Interior W11 (After Watteau)

The Lucian Freud Archive


Isobel also said Isobel also said that she independently chose to read the book Fraud  painted her with. “I wished to read. It was something I normally wouldn’t have time to do with three young children. It was an opportunity”, she said. James Sevier, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art also commented on the painting and relations between Freud and his daughter.


“Freud was very close to Ib, and painted her five times over the course of his career. This is the last portrait, and it is poignant and soothing”, he said. He also added: “Painting his children allowed Freud to build a closeness with them. He only painted those he was closest to, and there’s an intimacy and trust between painter and sitter”.


Lady Lambton, The Lucian Freud Archive


In advance of the auction house’s sale of modern and contemporary art slated for March 1, Ib Reading is now on display at Sotheby’s in London. Freud’s auction record was set by his painting Large Interior W11 (After Watteau), 1981-83. It sold from the collection of Paul Allen for US$86.3 million last November at Christie’s in New York.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.