Big Hits

Lucian Freud Self-Portrait Sells for $4.4 million

A 1978 Lucian Freud self-portrait that depicts the painter with a black eye, sold for $4.4 million at Sotheby’s on February 10. Freud got into an argument with a London taxi driver 32 years ago, resulting in a punch that left him with a shiner and motivated him to turn the paintbrush on himself. The 87-year-old painter, who is Sigmund Freud’s grandson, reportedly visited the auction house last month, but couldn’t recall the grounds for the altercation. Freud’s 7-inch high, introspective work sold for slightly less than Sotheby’s estimation to an unidentified female bidder. The piece was one of five paintings Victor Chandler, the Gibraltar-based bookmaker and founder of Victor Chandler International Group, submitted to Sotheby’s contemporary art sale. Chandler and Freud became friends in London in the late 1970s. Freud’s 1988-89 portrait of the bookmaker, “Man in a String Chair,” sold for $6.5 million at Christie’s International four years ago.