LONDON, June 19 — The fruit of the meeting between two titans of contemporary art, a portrait of David Hockney by Lucian Freud will go up for auction as part of Sotheby’s forthcoming “British Art Evening Sale.”

It is estimated to fetch between £8 and £12 million (RM45.7 million and RM68 million).

This portrait was painted in 2002 when Lucian Freud was 80 years old and David Hockney was 65.

For this painting, Hockney sat for the late British artist for over a hundred hours over a period of four months.

The sessions took place shortly before the opening of Tate Britain’s major retrospective of Lucian Freud’s work.

One of the sittings was captured on camera by the German-born British artist’s long-serving assistant, David Dawson. Each day, David Hockney would come to his fellow painter’s London apartment, not far from Holland Park.

The sittings always started with a cup of tea brewed by Freud on a grease-covered stove. An atmosphere of “old-fashioned bohemia” that his model particularly liked. 

“The plates with old beans on them from the last night, or even last week, it was like student days, very appealing, very appealing after all those very clean New York lofts. I told him you can’t have a smoke-free bohemia by definition. He let me smoke — ‘Don’t tell Kate Moss’ was his request,” David Hockney previously stated. 



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Coveted artworks on the market

This artwork was first exhibited in “Lucian Freud: Portraits,” a major retrospective organised in 2012 by the National Portrait Gallery in London.

It will come to the market for the first time on June 29 during Sotheby’s “British Art Evening Sale: Modern/Contemporary.”

The painting is estimated to fetch between £8 and £12 million (around US$11 to US$16.6 million).

This is well below the US$56.2 million fetched by Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Resting at Christie’s in 2015. But bids for the David Hockney portrait could climb, given the scarcity of Lucian Freud’s works at auction.

“It is hard to think of two greater British artists who are as both critically and commercially acclaimed than Lucian Freud and David Hockney.

“In this magnificent portrait we bear witness, not only to the enduring relationship of these two eminent masters but, moreover to, a tour-de-force of portraiture.

“Quite simply, his portrait of David Hockney is a masterpiece — a sublime testament to the measure of Freud’s uncompromising scrutiny and ability to capture the mood and the inner essence of his sitters,” said Tom Eddison, director of contemporary art at Sotheby’s London. — ETX Studio