Expert Voices: James Sevier on Lucian Freud’s “Ib Reading”

London | 1 March 2023

Executed in 1997, Ib Reading is an exquisite testament to the superlative power of Lucian Freud’s preoccupation with the single-figure portrait that sits at the very heart of his dynamic oeuvre that spanned over seven decades. Ib Reading is one of several portraits Freud painted of Isobel at different ages throughout his career. These portraits of Isobel or “Ib,” are part of a wider cycle of portraits Freud painted of his children, made after several years of paternal absence and a way for the artist to better know his offspring.
Rendered with meticulous detail and a liberal use of rich impasto, the surface of Ib Reading exhibits Freud’s breath-taking and calculated brushwork inherent to his portraits of the 1990s. Tender, delicate, transfixing, and well known within Freud's celebrated canon of portraits, this painting unassailably broadcasts the hallmarks of a twentieth-century master.
Please tune into the livestream of the Modern and Contemporary Evening Auction on the 1st of March at

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