Lucian Freud's Pregnant Girl beats estimate by 60%

Lucian Freud's Pregnant Girl was the star lot of Sotheby's contemporary art evening sale in London on February 10.

The painting realised £16m ($23.2m), an increase of 60% on a £10m ($14.4m) estimate.

Lucien Freud Pregnant
Pregnant Girl depicts Bernadine Coverley, mother to Freud's daughter Bella

It's an intimate portrait of Bernadine Coverley, the mother of Freud's daughter Bella. The couple met while out drinking in Soho in the early 1960s and ended up having two children.

Bella explained to the Sunday Telegraph: "I like that my mother was so clearly in my father's thoughts and gaze, that at this time she was really important to him.

"She didn't talk about the painting but she was proud of it - I could tell by the tone of her voice when she first told me that it was of her pregnant with me in that picture."

The work is among Freud's finest and clearly proved a major draw for collectors.

As Oliver Barker, Sotheby's senior international specialist in contemporary art, explained: "This astonishingly beautiful painting embodies the profound bond between Lucian and the mother of his two daughters.

"There is arguably no other portrait by Freud that is more gripping, more tender, and more laden with such emotional depth."

Freud's record is £35.6m ($56.2m), set for Benefits Supervisor Resting at Christie's in 2015.

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