Lucian Freud letter archive totals $204,500 in Sotheby's London auction


2015-06-26 13:37:48


Lucian Freud letter archive totals $204,500 in Sotheby's London auction

An archive of letters from Lucian Freud sold with an impressive 2,350% increase on estimate

An archive of love letters written by the celebrated British artist Lucian Freud has sold with outstanding results at Sotheby's.

Freud's letters are dotted with illustrations and insights into the artist's mind

The letters formed part of the Contemporary Art Day Sale on February 13 in London, following on from the evening auction that saw Freud's Head on a Green Sofa sell for 2.9m ($4.9m).

The letter archive provided a fantastic opportunity to own items from the artist at a modest price. Estimated at 3,000-5,000, the increasing demand for Freud's work pushed bids to 122,500 ($204,653)- a 2,350% increase.

Freud's sketch of Felicity Hellaby, his one-time girlfriend and fellow art student

Freud wrote the letters in the early 1940s to his girlfriend and fellow art student, Felicity Hellaby, who is also the subject of some of his earliest known paintings. Dotted with illustrations and charming insights into Freud's personality, they are a superb artefact from Freud's early career.

Also selling were three drawings that Freud gave to Hellaby, which achieved similarly impressive results. A study of a bird realised 134,500 ($223,632), making a 647.2% increase on its 18,000 high estimate.

This was followed by a portrait of a boy, with a letter to Felicity in the corner.Valued at 20,000, it made 122,500 ($203,680) - a 512.5% increase on estimate. A portrait of Hellaby made 32,500 ($54,032), bringing the total price of the collection to 412,000 ($685,028).

The auction will be followed by Bonhams' sale of another letter written by Freud to a student admirer, which details his artistic aims, on March 19.

Sign up to our free newsletter and never miss the latest updates from the auction world.

Share on social media
Write a response...

The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.

Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.


Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.