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Lucian Freud Painting Destroyed

April 27, 2000

LONDON (AP) _ A Lucian Freud painting has been accidentally destroyed by workers at Sotheby’s, the auction house confirmed Thursday.

The workers apparently thought the wooden protective case in which the painting arrived was empty and put it in a crusher. It was not clear exactly when the work was destroyed, and its title was not disclosed.

The painting was consigned for sale by a private collector, who would be reimbursed in full, the auction house said, declining to provide any other details.

The Evening Standard newspaper quoted a source Thursday as saying Sotheby’s was placing an internal value of $240,000 on the work, a price which Standard art critic Brian Sewell dismissed as ``peanuts.″

``That valuation bears no resemblance to the prices that Lucian Freud’s work is realizing,″ Sewell said, noting that a large Freud canvas, ``The Painter’s Room,″ recently sold for more than $1.6 million.

``Unless it is a very recent picture, it just does not fit,″ he said. ``It is possible that this is a recent work. But I doubt whether anyone would want to sell a recent work now. They have not appreciated enough yet.″

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