The most valuable Lucian Freud painting ever offered in London could be sold for up to £20m when it makes its auction debut at Sotheby's tomorrow.
One of the artist's last reclining nude paintings, 'Portrait on a White Cover', will go under the hammer and is expected to fetch between £17m-£20m.
Freud, who died in 2011 aged 88, painted nude portraits for much of his celebrated career, but only painted three more after 'Portrait on a White Cover' in 2003.
The painting which preceded it, Naked Portrait 2002 – a portrait of model Kate Moss when pregnant – was sold for £7.3m at an auction in 2005.
Head of contemporary art for Sotheby's Europe, Alex Branczi, said: “By the turn of the millennium, Freud was widely acknowledged to be Britains greatest living painter.
"However, even in the face of such plaudits, he refused to succumb to a late style, to allow his works to soften or loosen.
"The present work is testament to this refusal – across 50 years of painting the reclining nude, Freud was leading up to this point.”
The painting will be exhibited as part of Sotheby's London contemporary art evening sale tomorrow.
It depicts Sophie Lawrence, who was at the time producing the catalogue for a Lucian Freud exhibition at Tate Britain.