03/01/2012 03:31 GMT

Lucian Freud: 45 Works By The Late Artist To Be Auctioned

A collection of 45 works by the late Lucian Freud created over a 25-year period and said to be the most complete array of his prints ever to be auctioned is to be sold next month.

The etchings include images of sitters such as Sue Tilley - known as "fat Sue", a oil portrait of whom sold for £20.6 million, setting a new world record in 2008 - as well as his daughter Bella.

The works, valued at tens of thousands of pounds each, come from the private collection of Freud's printer Magar Balakjian and will be sold by Christie's on 15 February.

The artist and the master printer - who is based in a north London studio - worked together for a quarter of a century, with Freud taking a painstaking interest in every detail of the printing process to ensure they were exactly right.

Almost entirely in just black and white, the works were done as Freud sketched his sitters directly on to copper plates, prior to the printing process. He preferred to use natural light, rather than using lamps to light his subjects as he did for oil portraits.

His celebrated paintings saw him build thick colourful layers of oils to create his unforgiving and often unflattering images.

The prints however are much simpler and stripped back, but still realistically capture the rolls of flesh, the wrinkles and the jowls.

His nude portrait of Tilley - entitled Woman Sleeping - is expected to fetch between £30,000 and £50,000, as is a print of his fashion designer daughter, called Bella In Her Pluto T-Shirt.

A print of Freud's whippet, titled Pluto Aged Twelve, is estimated to sell for up to £70,000.

The collection includes a print of Lord Goodman - a former chairman of the British Arts Council - which is the only work in anything other than black and white. Freud - who died in July of last year at the age of 88 - added yellow watercolour to the image, Lord Goodman In His Yellow Pyjamas, which is valued up to £70,000.

The master printer said: "I had the pleasure of working with Lucian in my studio for 25 years during which time we became good friends; he was always courteous and kind.

"His work was always exceptional but his character so informal that you would never know he was one of the most important living artists of the time. He was an inspirational artist to work with; his prints don't just enrich his work, they are an integral part of his output. They show his versatility and define him as a great draughtsman."

The sale The Printer's Proof: Etchings by Lucian Freud from the Studio Prints Archive will be sold by Christie's in London on 15 February. The collection will also be exhibited at the Museum of Mankind from 16 to 27 January.