Rarely seen Lucian Freud drawing to be auctioned

A rarely seen artwork by former Fitzrovia habitué Lucian Freud will be auctioned by Sotheby’s this month.

Drawing of man and woman.

Flyda and Arvid (1947). Pen and ink heightened with coloured crayon. Photograph: Sotheby’s.

The drawing, Flyda and Arvid, is a dual portrait of Freud and his first wife Kitty Garman. It is thought to be Freud’s only self-portrait to also feature Kitty.

Freud drew it in 1947 and shortly afterwards gave it to his friend Sonia Brownell, George Orwell’s second wife. Since Sonia’s death it has passed down through her family and has not been seen in public for almost 70 years.

If you fancy getting your hands on it, the drawing’s value is estimated at £600,00 to £800,000.

The drawing was commissioned for a book, Flyda Of The Seas: A Fairy Tale For Grown Ups, by French aristocrat author Princess Marie Bonaparte. The project was never completed, leaving Freud with five drawings which he exhibited in a small London gallery show in 1948.

Sonia, who frequented the same Fitzrovia drinking haunts as Freud, was the model for Julia, the heroine of Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, while the Newman Arms in Rathbone Street is believed to have inspired the proles pub in that work.

The Sotheby’s sale will feature other works by some of Britain’s most sought-after artists, including Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Stanley Spencer and L.S. Lowry. Sotheby’s will also host a talk by art historian Michael Howard on L.S. Lowry’s masterpiece, Father And Two Sons.

Modern & Post-War British Art, 6pm on Tuesday 17 November and 10.30am on Wednesday 18 November, at Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA. Michael Howard’s talk on L.S. Lowry will be at 2pm on Sunday 15 November.

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