Lucian Freud, Portrait On A White Cover , 2002, oil on canvas.

COURTESY SOTHEBY’S LONDON

At the contemporary art evening sale at Sotheby’s in London, a new record was set for a Lucian Freud at auction in the capital city, when his Portrait on a White Cover (2003) sold for £22.5 million, or about $29.8 million.

However impressive that result is, the figure is still well below the most ever paid for a Lucian Freud at auction, which is the $56.2 million forked over by the winning bidder for Benefits Supervisor Resting (1994) at Christie’s in New York in 2015.

Portrait on a White Cover depicts Sophie Lawrence, an employee of Tate, where Freud had a retrospective in 2002. Lawrence shared the story of her experience sitting for Freud ahead of the sale, saying, “I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else, but he is one of the best artists who has ever lived. It was incredibly intimidating, but he made me feel at ease. He was very good at building a rapport with peopleI was very fond of him.”

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