It features in Sotheby’s British art evening sale: Modern/Contemporary in London on June 29.
It was completed across four months in the spring and summer of 2002 when Freud was almost 80 years old and Hockney was aged 65.
The pair had met in 1962 and were friends. Hockney said of sitting for the portrait: “It was a very memorable and enjoyable experience. I thought his portrait very good indeed – all the hours I sat were layered into it; he had always added, rarely taken anything away. It really shows.”
Painted at the height of Freud’s career, the portrait of Hockney was created in the months leading up to Freud’s critically acclaimed retrospective at Tate Britain. Unseen in public since Freud’s 2012 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, it will appear at auction for the first time.