Benefits Supervisor Sleeping

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Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, Lucian Freud, 1995.

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping is a 1995 oil on canvas painting by Lucian Freud depicting an obese, naked woman lying on a couch. It is a portrait of Sue Tilley, a Job Centre supervisor,[1] then weighing about 127 kilograms (280 lb).[2] 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".[3]

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[4] for US$33.6 million (£17.2 million)[5] at Christie's in New York in May 2008 to Roman Abramovich.[6] Freud's painting The Brigadier was sold for £35.8million ($56.2million) in 2015, four years after his death, replacing Benefits Supervisor Sleeping as the most expensive Freud painting sold at auction.[7]

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 (May 16, 2015). "I didn't set out to be Lucian Freud's muse". The Telegraph. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  2. ^ Hosea (2012-01-12). "Portraits of an Artist". Centurion Magazine. Archived from the original on 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  3. ^ National Portrait Gallery, Exhibition booklet for Lucian Freud Portraits, 2012, Section VII
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2015-09-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Freud work sets new world record". BBC Online. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
  6. ^ Adams, Stephen (2008-05-18). "Roman Abramovich 'revealed as Freud and Bacon buyer'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
  7. ^ "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 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2017-07-25.

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