Life in Soho is conducive to these stories of another time. In 1959, Bernadine is 16 and wishing to escape a too rigorous education. Lucian is twenty years older. On the following year, she is pregnant with their first daughter, Bella. Francis and Bernadine are deeply and sincerely in love, but not enough to live together. Their relationship, however, is sustainable: a second birth will follow and their friendship will last until the end of their lives, a few days apart in 2011.
The art of his friend Francis Bacon is resolutely modern. Expression has replaced realism. Lucian wants to follow this path and observes Bernadine with a renewed attention. The theme of the sleeping woman, previously experienced by Picasso with Marie-Thérèse, is conducive to confidence and privacy. Lucian is perhaps not yet the incorrigible talkative of his later career: he lets Bernadine asleep.
On February 10 in London, Sotheby's sells Pregnant girl, lot 17 estimated £ 7M. This oil on canvas 91 x 71 cm is a larger than life bust portrait achieved in 1961 showing Bernadine within a deep sleep. Her turned head avoids both the lover and the viewer. Lucian had seen the effects of pregnancy on the naked flesh of the torso.
SOLD for £ 16M including premium