Benefits Supervisor Sleeping

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Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, Lucian Freud, 1995.

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping is a 1995 oil on canvas painting by the British artist Lucian Freud depicting a naked woman lying on a couch. It is a portrait of Sue Tilley, a Jobcentre supervisor.[1]

Tilley is the author of a biography of the Australian performer Leigh Bowery titled Leigh Bowery, The Life and Times of an Icon. Tilley was introduced to Freud by Bowery, who was already modelling for him. Freud painted a number of large portraits of her around the period 1994–96, and came to call her "Big Sue". He said of her body: "It's flesh without muscle and it has developed a different kind of texture through bearing such a weight-bearing thing."[2]

The painting held the world record for the highest price paid for a painting by a living artist when it was sold by Guy Naggar[3] for US$33.6 million (£17.2 million)[4] at Christie's in New York City in May 2008 to Roman Abramovich.[5]

Freud's painting The Brigadier was sold for £35.8 million ($56.2 million) in 2015, four years after his death, replacing Benefits Supervisor Sleeping as the most expensive Freud painting sold at auction.[6]

The painting was exhibited twice at Flowers Gallery:

  • 1996: Naked – Flowers East at London Fields
  • 1997: British Figurative Art - Part 1: Painting at Flowers East


  1. ^ Tilley, Sue (16 May 2015). "I didn't set out to be Lucian Freud's muse". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  2. ^ National Portrait Gallery, Exhibition booklet for Lucian Freud Portraits, 2012, Section VII
  3. ^ "Art on the move -". Archived from the original on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Freud work sets new world record". BBC Online. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  5. ^ Adams, Stephen (18 May 2008). "Roman Abramovich 'revealed as Freud and Bacon buyer'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  6. ^ "Lipstick, Leigh Bowery and me… by Lucian Freud's £35m muse – Hull UK City of Culture 2017". Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Archived from the original on 22 May 2018. Retrieved 25 July 2017.

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