A Lucian Freud self-portrait has sold at a London art auction. Nothing unusual in that, you might think, except that Freud produced the work on an egg shell.
Freud created the unusual oil and ink piece as a gift to the curator of an Easter exhibition at the Langton Gallery in London in 1979.
The curator held on to the item ever since, keeping it safe in a desk drawer.
It beat its £15,000 high pre-sale valuation by 80% with a £27,000 showing at the June 21 auction, further evidence of the passion collectors have for the German-born painter, no matter what form the artwork takes.
Its price may have been boosted by the fact it is thought to be the only three dimensional work Freud ever produced.
Auction expert Alexander Hayter told the UK's Daily Mail newspaper: "Despite it being a highly unusual medium, this egg is instantly recognisable as work by Freud. The way the flesh has been rendered in a very interesting way and the mix of sepia ink wash and oil.
"He had to hold it while he painted it because he left his fingerprints on the back. About 50% of the egg was painted."
These are heady times for Freud artworks.
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping sold for a Freud world record price of £20.6m in 2008, while in October his Boy's Head made £3m.
In February his Eli, a print of a prostrate dog, more than doubled its high estimate to make £145,250, setting a world record for a print by the artist at auction.
The May 21 sale also featured a Freud portrait of his father, which sold for £37,000.
Freud collectors may also be intrigued by a sale at Christie's June 27, in which a Francis Bacon work features Bacon's head on Freud's body.
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