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MAGNIFICENT GESTURES: MASTERWORKS FROM THE DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL COLLECTION FULL PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

Lucian Freud
PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
900,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,155,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
19

MAGNIFICENT GESTURES: MASTERWORKS FROM THE DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL COLLECTION FULL PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

Lucian Freud
PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
900,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,155,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York

Lucian Freud
1922 - 2011
PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN
charcoal and pastel on paper mounted on canvas
24 1/8 by 18 7/8 in. 61.3 by 47.9 cm.
Executed in 1990-1991.
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Provenance

The Artist
James Kirkman Limited, London
Acquired by the present owner from the above in April 1991

Literature

Sebastian Smee and Richard Calvocoressi, Lucian Freud On Paper, New York, 2009, p. 154, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Lucian Freud’s works on paper are fundamental to his oeuvre. Before he gained a reputation as a painter, Freud was known primarily as a draftsman, and his career was punctuated by vigorous and prolific periods of drawing. Alongside his portraits of fellow artists such as John Craxton, Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach, and many other subjects besides, Freud routinely portrayed his friends from the almost mythological “bohemian aristocracy” of London. Among the members of this seductive set was the subject of the present work, Clarissa Eden (née Spencer-Churchill). Alongside Deborah Devonshire (née Mitford), Clarissa Eden is unique in that she maintained a steadfast friendship with the famously difficult artist from the late 1940s until his death in 2011. Quite aside from that fact, she fits the model of the artistic grandee to perfection. Prior to her marriage to Anthony Eden, the British prime minister between 1955 and 1957, Clarissa, Dowager Countess of Avon and Winston Churchill’s niece, mixed with an entirely different crowd from that which would preoccupy her during her political years. Orson Welles, Greta Garbo, Evelyn Waugh, Cecil Beaton and Ian Fleming were counted among her friends, as were a host of other creative luminaries. As one reviewer of her 2007 memoir observed, “few lives can have touched so many social worlds, or graced them so elegantly.” (Ed Smith, The Times, 15 October 2007, online)

Richly executed in charcoal and pastel and subsequently mounted on canvas, Portrait of a Woman is a supremely rare work that depicts this extraordinary figure in her later years, long after the death of her husband. It is a remarkably complete drawing, and harkens back not only to Freud’s extensive practice prior to his turn towards painting, but such masterpieces as Girl with Leaves (Museum of Modern Art, New York) from 1948. It typifies Freud’s representation of flesh in the latter part of his career, whilst highlighting his lifelong preoccupation with the drawn line. A testament to the friendship enjoyed by two titans of London life in the Twentieth Century, the present work is one of the greatest of Freud’s late works on paper, and should be considered alongside works such as Lord Goodman from 1986-7, whose subject was Freud’s solicitor and incidentally a close confidant of Clarissa Eden, as some of Freud’s most emotionally charged late works on paper. The daring juxtaposition of color, along with the virtuosic treatment of line and texture, notably in the hair and around the eyes, mark this as a truly exceptional work, perhaps closer in resemblance to a veritable oil painting than any other work on paper by the artist.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York