This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.
Signed Print Edition of 50
H 43cm x W 35cm
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
This portrait, created with Lucian Freud's favoured printing process of etching, was executed in 1987. The portrait is of Freud's daughter, Bella Freud, when she was 26-years-old. Typical of his masterful handling of composition, Bella's crisp white shirt is modelled with little work on the etching plate. From this brightness in the bottom right of the work, the viewer's eye is led towards the centre towards the dark focal portrait. Freud's portrait of Bella is intense, and the artist uses heavy hatching to delineate the strong features of his daughter's face. With a flowing series of etched lines, Freud captures Bella's unkempt hair falling about her face. Beneath the portrait is the number of the edition and Freud's initials, written in the artist's unassuming handwriting.
To be the child of a committed artist often has its tensions. No matter the love Freud had for his 14 children, his dedication to his craft made him a less than conventional father: distant and preoccupied by his art. However, as David Kamp observed after Freud's death in 2011, "his children generally seemed to accept that sitting for Freud was the way to have a fulfilling relationship with their father". Bella Freud, acclaimed fashion designer and daughter to Lucian, was one of the artist's children that returned to model for her father throughout his career.
Despite the intimate bond we might expect between father and daughter, Bella reveals a potential uneasiness and coolness between them. Though Bella was only 26-years-old when modelling for this etching, Freud has captured her with an intensity typical of his work. Her downturned eyes reflect barely any light, and every modulation and crevice of her skin is depicted with scrutinous hatching. Indeed, given that Lucian himself was grandson to psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, we can infer the psychological potency which shapes this work. From the work we see the potential frictions between father and daughter, both during Bella's sitting and in their entire relationship. Bella not only shows us how Freud viewed his daughter, it also reflects something of how Freud perceived himself in his relationship with his children.