A portrait by Lucian Freud that has been out of public view for more than two decades will be auctioned in London this month. The painting, depicting one of the artist’s daughters, is expected to fetch up to £20 million ($24 million) when it is offered at Sotheby’s next week.
Freud depicted his daughter Isobel Boyt in the 1997 painting Ib Reading, which he completed in a months-long effort during which she posed for 70 sittings at her father’s West London studio. Shown barefoot, Boyt is seen reading Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.
It is one of five paintings Freud produced showing Boyt, and one of an estimated 30 in which the artist portrayed his 14 children. Many of these works, according to Sotheby’s statement, were completed after a period of “paternal absence.”
The painting has remained in the same private collection since it was acquired after Freud completed it. It was last shown publicly in an exhibition in New York in 2000.
Freud’s work and his involvement with his models have become the subject of mainstream attention. Earlier this month, a Kate Moss–produced biopic focusing on one model’s experience posing for the painter in the early 2000s was announced.
In November, Freud’s Large Interior, W11 (After Watteau) from 1981, featuring his daughter Bella among the sitters, hammered at its estimate to sell for $86 million at Christie’s, from the collection of the late tech mogul Paul Allen. The work set a new record for Freud.
Ib Reading is currently on display at Sotheby’s London, ahead of the auction house’s sale of modern and contemporary art scheduled to take place March 1.