Pregnant Girl, Lucian Freud's portrait of Bernadine Coverley, will be sold at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London on February 10th at an estimate of £10 million. Freud's other work has been selling extremely well. At Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Auction in July Four Eggs on a Plate sold for £989,000, quadrupling its high estimate of £100,000 - £150,000.
In Pregnant Girl, the subject is Bernadine Coverley, the mother of his two children, Bella and Esther Coverley. Though little is known of the relationship between Coverley and Freud, the portrait of Coverley takes place during her pregnancy at the age of seventeen. Admitting to using his skills as a painter to also explore biographical moments in his life, this piece shares Freud's perspective on his romantic relationship with Coverly.
"It must have been a very happy time in her life, being pregnant with the man she loved and him wanting her to be there and paint her," says Bella, "I think he was undoubtedly the love of her life." In Freud's Baby on a Green Sofa (1961), Bella was painted as a baby laying on the same green sofa in which Pregnant Girl was created.
After Freud and Coverley separated, Coverley and her daughters moved to Morocco and the story of their lives was portrayed in Esther's book Hideous Kinky, which was later adapted into a film with Kate Winslet.
Sotheby's stated that the work "opens a window onto the most meaningful moment in the lives of both lovers, embodying the singular tenderness he felt for Bernadine, soon to be the mother of daughters Bella and Esther."
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