A portrait Lucian Freud painted of his daughter Isobel in 1997 will make its auction debut on March 1 at Sotheby’s London, with an estimate of between £15 million and £20 million (US$18 million and US$24 million).
Painted over a year with more than 70 sittings, the portrait depicts Isobel Boyt, known as Ib to her family, reading Marcel Proust’s 4,000-page novel Remembrance of Things Past, wearing a loose dress, with her bare feet up on a chair and the book in her lap.
The portrait, aptly titled Ib Reading, was acquired by a private collector shortly after its creation and has remained in the same collection since. It was last seen publicly more than 20 years ago in an exhibition in New York, according to Sotheby’s.
The portrait will be offered as a highlight of Sotheby’s evening auction of modern and contemporary art.
Other star lots of the sale include Pablo Picasso’s portrait of his daughter, Maya, formerly owned by Gianni Versace and estimated to sell for between £12 million and £20 million; a newly restituted painting by Wassily Kandinsky, Murnau mit Kirche II, which is expected to fetch in the region of £35 million; and one of Gerhard Richter’s Abstract masterpieces, Abstraktes Bild, estimated in excess of £20 million.
Freud’s Ib Reading is one of five painted portraits of his daughter. The first was Large Interior, Paddington (1968-69), which was made when Isobel was just seven years old. The portrait is now in the collection of the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain, which is hosting a major retrospective of the artist, Lucian Freud: New Perspectives, until June.
In 1992, Freud also painted Isobel with the father of her children, while she was pregnant with her youngest daughter Alice.
“My father never chose the pose of his sitters. He would often make suggestions, but he never said, ‘I want you wearing this and sitting there’. There were limited possibilities with the studio too,” Isobel, 60, said in a statement through Sotheby’s.
Reading the novel Remembrance of Things Past while sitting for her father was her own choice, she said in the statement. “I wished to read. It was something I normally wouldn’t have time to do with three young children. It was an opportunity,” she said.
Freud’s auction record was set by his painting Large Interior W11 (After Watteau), 1981-83, which sold from the collection of Paul Allen for US$86.3 million last November at Christie’s in New York.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual
Many people are spending more than they think as inflation stays elevated
Many people have a gap between what they think they spend and what they actually spend. This gap has widened recently as the financial and psychological effects of higher prices further strain people’s budgets.
Elevated inflation has rippled through American’s wallets for more than a year now. Some have cut back, while others have increased their spending to keep up. Credit-card balances were staying relatively flat for a while, but have jumped higher recently.
In the fourth quarter of 2022, the average household’s credit-card balance was $9,990, up 9% from in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to WalletHub, a consumer-finance website. Meanwhile, the average credit-card interest rate rose to a record high of about 20% last week, according to Bankrate.
Financial advisers say the larger amount of credit-card debt while rates are higher is one indication that some Americans are spending more than they think they are. This type of spending can reduce people’s ability to pay for important items down the road, such as college for a child or even fund their own retirement. More immediately, it will put people in costlier debt.
“If people spend too much on credit, they could end up trapped in a cycle of debt,” said Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma.
Spending less isn’t always possible when everything from groceries to travel is generally more expensive. Still, people can find ways to cut back if they understand more about why they are overspending and take a closer look at their finances.
Inflation on top of inflation
The power of compounding is a boon to investors, but not to shoppers.
Money grows much faster than most people expect because interest is earned on interest, said Michael Liersch, head of Wells Fargo & Co.’s advice and planning centre. A similar concept applies to inflation: Prices rise, and if inflation remains high, prices continue to grow on top of already-inflated prices, leaving people off guard.
“People get constantly surprised that their money isn’t going as far as they thought it would,” he said.
The cost of eating out and going for drinks continues to take Dina Lyon aback. Even though the 36-year-old married mother of one is dining out and ordering in far less than she did a year ago, some prices still give her sticker shock.
“The difference between cooking at home—about $10 for nice pasta and quick sauce from canned tomatoes—versus Italian takeout of $50 is astronomical,” said Ms. Lyon, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
People tend to underestimate their future spending in large part because they base their predictions on typical expenses that come to mind easily, said Abigail Sussman, a professor of marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
She and other researchers found that when people are coming up with predictions, they tend to think about what they usually spend money on—such as groceries, rent and gas—and base their predictions primarily on these expenses. They are less likely to consider atypical expenses, such as car repairs or birthday presents, the researchers found.
This pattern is particularly problematic when inflation is high, said Prof. Sussman. When the price of the same basket of items rises, people might not account for these price increases in their future budgets, she said.
Further, times of stress cause people to be less intentional about tracking their money, said Mr. Liersch. They might also spend more than they know they can afford to soothe feelings including anxiety and depression.
According to a recent survey by Credit Karma, 39% of Americans identify as emotional spenders (defined by the study as someone who spends money to cope with emotional highs and lows.)
You have a better chance of staying under budget if you become more aware of your spending instead of sticking your head in the sand, financial advisers said.
One thing Adam Alter, a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, does is create a line item in his monthly budget for one-off expenses, such as an unexpected medical bill. This gives him a cushion in his budget and enables him to more fully examine how much he is spending each month, said Prof. Alter, who has studied overspending.
People might also wish to include an escalating buffer into their budgets of say, 2% to 5% a year, to account for inflation, he said.
Jay Zigmont, a financial planner in Water Valley, Miss., looks at clients’ total take-home income from the year, subtracts everything they must spend money on such as their mortgage and how much they saved. The remaining number is how much they spent on discretionary spending.
In most cases, clients are surprised they spent so much, he said.
Once people know how much they spend, Britta Koepf, a financial planner in Independence, Ohio, suggests they practice mindful spending. Before any purchase, ask yourself if you really want or need what you are buying. Frequently, the answer is yes, but sometimes waiting five seconds will prevent you from overspending, she said.
You can also practice mindfulness by delaying purchases further.
“A lot of the time, if I tell myself that I will purchase it next week, I find that I am no longer interested a week later,” she said.
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