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Social Warden is sleeping

Painting, 1995, 219×314.2 cm

Description of the artwork «Social Warden is sleeping»

If the glory 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 really a social worker, and before that she worked as a cashier for a while at Bowery's Tabu nightclub. The artist was fascinated by the body of a woman: it was not slender, muscular, tightened, and one hundred percent consisted of flesh, which Freud so appreciated. Sue posed for him for three paintings (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
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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

Artwork in selections: 22 selections

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