14/10/2011 02:56 BST | Updated 13/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Boy's Head: Lucian Freud Masterpiece Sells For £3 Million

A small Lucian Freud painting described as an "indisputable masterpiece" sold for more than £3 million when it went under the hammer at auction.

Boy's Head, measuring just 21.6cm by 15.9cm, was bought by an anonymous bidder for £3,177,250.

But the work - which depicts Charlie Lumley, Freud's neighbour and one of his most recognisable subjects - did not meet pre-sale estimates, which had suggested it could go for as much as £4 million.

The work, painted in 1952, shows the subject's head supported by his hand.

It led a Sotheby's sales evening which saw one private collection, entitled Italian Identity, go for a combined total of £39,456,950, in an auction of 20th-century Italian art.

This was in line with pre-sale estimates which suggested the works could reach between £34,982,000 and £48,338,000.

All prices included buyer's premium.