A painting by British artist Lucian Freud will likely fetch the highest ever auction price for a work by a living artist, Christie’s said Friday.
The auction house estimates that “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” will fetch between $25 million and $35 million. That would top the current record, set in November by Jeff Koons’ “Hanging Heart” sculpture, which sold for $23.6 million. The life-size portrait of a large naked woman will be sold in New York on May 13.
Pilar Ordovas, head of contemporary art at Christie’s in London, said the painting is coveted because it is the first from a series of Freud’s paintings from the 1990s to be available on the open market. Ordovas said the painting belongs to a series “considered by many to be among the best works he’s ever produced.”
The 1995 painting depicts Freud’s subject Sue Tilley lying asleep on a worn out sofa, Christie’s said.
Christie’s unveiled the 5 feet by 7 feet work for public viewing Friday in London. It also will be shown April 14-15 in London, ahead of the sale in New York.
Freud, 85, the grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was introduced to the model, nicknamed “Big Sue,” by the Australian performance artist Leigh Bowery, Christie’s said.
His work has a record of high prices. In November, Christie’s sold his painting, “IB and Her Husband,” for $19.3 million.