Lucian Freud completed just one portrait, “Woman Smiling,” of his former wife (and student) Suzy Boyt, with whom he had five children. Completed in 1958-59, it’s considered a landmark — a turning point in his career toward the expressionist style for which he’s best known. Christie’s will offer the painting in June at its Post-War and Contemporary Art Auction, where it’s expected to sell for $5.6-$7.2m.
That estimate may be modest. Freud’s work has been selling exceptionally well, and the painting is thought to be the most significant of his works to come to auction since his “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” sold in May 2008 for $33.6m—the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living artist. The painting, originally owned by the wife of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, last sold at another Christie’s auction in 1973. Its price: $8,000.
Read more at Christie’s.