Lucian Freud’s painting of a naked and pregnant Kate Moss was sold at auction Wednesday for $7.29 million, and another Freud painting went for even more — a record for the artist.
Christie’s auction house said an anonymous telephone bidder bought the picture of the model, “Naked Portrait 2002,” the centerpiece of its sale of postwar and contemporary art, for slightly more than its pre-sale estimate.
Another Freud painting, “Red Haired Man on a Chair,” sold for $7.71 million, a record price for the artist at auction.
About 600 people packed the Christie’s salesroom and spilled into an adjoining room, where some watched the fierce bidding on a television screen.
Sold by an anonymous private collector, the Moss picture shows the model pregnant with daughter Lila Grace, who is now 2.
“We are delighted with the results of the sale of the two works by Freud, painted exactly 40 years apart,” said Christie’s spokeswoman Catherine Manson. “They are stunning and highly sought-after.”
Freud, 82, is considered one of Britain’s greatest living artists, and is known for vast, mottled nudes of his friends and acquaintances. A grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, he has also painted a fully clad Queen Elizabeth II.
Christie’s said the near life-size portrait of a reclining Moss “is very rare in Freud’s oeuvre for being one of only a few portraits the artist has painted of well-known or famous people.”