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Social Warden is sleeping

Lucien Freud • Painting, 1995, 219×314.2 cm
About the artwork
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Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Nude
Style of art: Naturalism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1995
Size: 219×314.2 cm
Content 18+
Artwork in collection: Smart and Beautiful Natalya Kandaurova
Artwork in selections: 34 selections

Description of the artwork «Social Warden is sleeping»

If fame could be measured in some well-known value, for example, in kilograms, then thanks to the picture "The Social Warden is asleep" the cup of the weights of Lucien Freud instantly weighed immediately by 127 kilos. That's what the artist's model - Sue Tilly, nicknamed "Big Sue", weighed heavily.

Freud and Tilly introduced a mutual friend Lee Bowery, who himself was more than a monumental figure in all senses. Sue was indeed a social worker, and before that she had worked for a while as a cashier at the Bowery nightclub Taboo. The artist was fascinated by the woman's body: it was not slender, muscular, fit, but one hundred percent consisted of flesh, which Freud so valued. Sue posed for three pictures (two more - 1, 2), and work on each of them took about nine months. A break in work had to be done only once, when Tilly went on vacation and "defiled" her skin with a tan. Freud refused to work on the picture until the woman's skin returned the proper British pallor. In addition, the artist on his canvasses painted Sue's tattoos, as if removing all possible forms of disguise from her body.

Sue Tilly still (data for early 2015) lives in London. Still working in the center for employment, a woman lays off money for retirement and dreams of opening her own tea room. Tilly wrote a biographical book about Lee Bowery, and recently, among other things, she herself began to draw - illustrations and cartoon characters.

From the joint work with Lucien Freud, Sue had only the most pleasant memories: "I'm happy that I spent time with a man who was so caring and worked so hard. He was not cruel - he painted what he saw. He painted with love".

In the early 2000s, Sue sold one of Freud's sketches with her image for 26 thousand pounds. And in 2008, "Social Warden Sleeps" was sold at Christie's auction for a record 17.2 million pounds (33.6 million dollars) to the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, becoming the most expensive painting in the world sold during the artist's lifetime.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova