View Full Version : Benefits Supervisor Sleeping

23rd Jul 2011, 07:53
I see that Lucien Freud, whose life-size painting of an obese naked woman holds the world record for the highest price ever paid for a painting by a living artist has died.

'Benefits Supervisor Sleeping' (oil on canvas, 59 5/8 x 86¼ inches) sold for $33.6 million :eek: in an art sale at the Rockefeller Center in 2008.


I guess it will be worth even more now he's dead.


23rd Jul 2011, 07:59
When it comes to paintings of large ladies then I prefer Rubens I must say.

Of course I don't own a Rubens but do own the secret but highly erotic set of etchings sold to me outside the Casbah in ... (oops there I go again)!

23rd Jul 2011, 08:08
Not only is that painting hideous in the extreme, but I really see no artistic merit in it. Of course it's 'de gustibus non est disputandum' but I would rather look out over a windswept car park than see that on my wall.

The 'value' is purely artificial.

tony draper
23rd Jul 2011, 08:10
I saw some of his other work on the news, bloody rubbish,shows how poxed up and self deluding the art world is,I would be annoyed if I found one of his daubs.

23rd Jul 2011, 08:21
It is certainly an arresting portrait and is one on a grand scale for sure.

Personally I would be very happy to display it and there is much to admire in it but, then, so much more in Rubens.

Said with my best Brian Sewell accent!

23rd Jul 2011, 08:23
Never trust people who talk in absolutes is a good rule of thumb.

23rd Jul 2011, 08:34
It certainly portrays the benefits regime in the UK. Bloated, overweight and flaccid.

23rd Jul 2011, 14:04
The Queen sitting for Freud.

The portrait.

23rd Jul 2011, 15:10
Good luck to Sue Tilley who modeled for Freud...

The portrait's sitter, Sue Tilley - now promoted from benefits supervisor to manager of a Jobcentre Plus in central London - is delighted. "My life's changed overnight," she says. "I'm beside myself, but then lovely things are always happening to me. Still, I'm not surprised - in a way, I always thought this might happen. I love that painting."

Is it not a little, well, exposing to have one's magnificently generous breasts and lolling stomach revealed to the world? Tilley laughs: she was nervous, she says, about first stripping off, but quickly got used to it. Though, she adds: "I know it sounds weird, but even though there'd be no one else there I'd get dressed or put something round me just to go to the loo. I didn't want to become a regular nudist."...

Of course it was a different thing for the paintings - four were produced during their four-year working relationship - to go out into the world, and to be gawped at by all and sundry. "The first painting he ever did of me [Evening in the Studio, 1993] was finished while there was a big show of his paintings on at the Whitechapel gallery," she says. "So they put it up for the last week of the exhibition. I went in there one day and there was a man giving a talk in front of the picture, saying, look at this revolting woman, she's so fat and disgusting, there's obviously something wrong with her skin. I just started laughing. The man stopped and asked if there was anything wrong. I said: 'That's me you're talking about,' and he just looked like he wanted to die. After that I didn't really mind what people said.

Lucian Freud portrait of naked benefits supervisor set to sell for £17m | Art and design | The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2008/apr/12/art)

23rd Jul 2011, 15:18
I am not sure but isn't this painting now owned by the chap who also owns Chelsea FC?

23rd Jul 2011, 15:29
My father - no mean painter himself in the classical style - once said something to the effect that anyone can create an ugly painting or sculpture, it takes skill and talent to do something beautiful.

It's a comment on modern society that it prizes hideous works of art so highly.

Mac the Knife
23rd Jul 2011, 15:40
"The 'value' is purely artificial"

As with all paintings.....

(can't say I personally care for it that much tho')


23rd Jul 2011, 18:50
One learns far more about the hideous nature of humans from threads like this than Freud's portrait. In this essence lies the meaning of art I guess. :(

Flying Lawyer
23rd Jul 2011, 20:05
I couldn't understand the attraction of Lucian Freud's paintings until persuaded to join some friends going to see a retrospective of his work at the Tate Gallery in about 2002.
I was converted. Photographs don't do justice to his talent.
There aren't many of his paintings that I'd want to hang on a wall at home, but that's a different matter.

My father - no mean painter himself in the classical style - once said something to the effect that anyone can create an ugly painting or sculpture, it takes skill and talent to do something beautiful.

What if the subject isn't beautiful?

Sue Tilley posing for Lucian Freud

"I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be." (Lucian Freud)
"Mr. Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it." (Oliver Cromwell)

Should an artist flatter or paint what he sees?
Or just not paint subjects that aren't beautiful?

23rd Jul 2011, 20:31
Beauty, Flying Lawyer, is in the eye of the beer-holder; who are you to judge?

Perhaps this man finds the image of Sue Tilley laying on a couch, nude and clutching one ponderous, sagging dug to cause a faint and feeble stir in some forgotten fold.


23rd Jul 2011, 22:15

23rd Jul 2011, 22:34
I have to agree with Flying Lawyer on this.

Personally (and in discussing questions of art it's always personal) I would regard Freud as one of the most outstanding artists of the past 50 years. That's not to say that any of his pictures can be described as things of beauty in a conventional sense. Nor do I hold with the view that someone can cover a canvas with, say, blue paint and exhibit it as a work of art. Unlike some of those conmen, Freud had actually learned to paint

But to describe Freud's work as "rubbish", Drapes, is the same as me describing Jimmi Hendrix's music as rubbish. Personally I couldnt stand listening to it for 30 seconds, but it is patently obvious that he had great musical talent, it just doesnt appeal to my ears.

As to monetary value, the unbreakable rule is, as always, something is worth what someone will pay for it.

23rd Jul 2011, 22:48
There's a reason Art rhymes with Fart.


tony draper
23rd Jul 2011, 22:49
I agree with you re Hendrix Mr T though I understand he was a good Guitarist until he became a sound effects man,never understood his stuff,likewise this kind of art,I suspect a lot of these artistic conmen come out with things like 'I paint what I see' because they cant bloody paint.
Much prefer work that represents reality,I'm a Dutch Masters man meself.

23rd Jul 2011, 22:53
Me too, Drapes. I wouldnt say I'd kill for a Vermeer, but I would be very tempted to nick one should the opportunity ever arise ;)

23rd Jul 2011, 22:54
Not sure it's even a generational thing. Now I hold The Stone Roses to be the greatest British band of the past twenty five years. Over at their place, we've just had a discussion on who's the greatest guitarist of them all & Hendrix won by a country mile for his invention, dexterity & technical ability.

Now that's a musician who died around the time all the Stone Roses fans were Being born. Not a generation gap, an imagination gap.

23rd Jul 2011, 23:08
As my Father would say, "what they lack in talent, they make up in volume."

23rd Jul 2011, 23:53
That isn't art. This is art...


Worrals in the wilds
24th Jul 2011, 00:14
And this one? (I can't get the image to paste). A few of you may prefer it to the Freud...
kateceberano (http://www.peterrobertsonartist.com/kateceberano.html)
Kate Ceberano, Peter Roberts, 1994.
Archibald Prize finalist, Packer Prize winner 1994. Apparently blokes were calling up the Gallery of NSW by the hundred wanting to buy posters when it was reprinted in the press, but Kate wasn't keen :E.

Personally I don't like Freud's painting style, they always seem a bit 'brushy' and muddy to me. As for the subject, Realism's been around for a while now. IMO It's just because nude fat people are invisible to the media (except as a part of internet jokes) that the picture is confronting. Interesting, but I wouldn't want it. I suppose there's gallery art and home art, too.

24th Jul 2011, 01:36
As my Father would say, "what they lack in talent, they make up in volume."

Only one band went to 11!


Now this is "art"! ;)


24th Jul 2011, 02:22
Rubens and the larger lady!


24th Jul 2011, 07:14
And this one I am very proud to have on my wall. The lace curtain magically vanishes at night when I switch on the table lamp. Don't ask me how the artist does it.


She doesn't know herself - the artist is my wife!

24th Jul 2011, 07:40
Is that Kate Cebrano or Kate Bush...???

Obviously an early 90s depiction.

Flying Lawyer
24th Jul 2011, 09:00
Rollingthunder says: That isn't art. This is art...

When Constable's Hay Wain, arguably one of the greatest British paintings, was originally exhibited no-one wanted to buy it. It was eventually sold in France - three years later.
Here's a very different painting of a country scene.

Is it art?


Or just daubs by one of "these artistic conmen come out with things like 'I paint what I see' because they cant bloody paint" that Draper talks about?

BTW, I agree with Draper about some modern 'artists'.
Tracey Emin, for example. :rolleyes:


tony draper
24th Jul 2011, 09:04
Indeed when the art world elite start telling what is good or bad and we slavishly follow their ravings so as not to appear ignorant we end up with unmade beds tents and dead sheep or horse turds in glass cases,it's time we philistines stood up to be counted.

24th Jul 2011, 09:12
Yes! Let's stand up against these fifth coloumnists...the artists! Down with things no one forces you to look at!

24th Jul 2011, 09:14
Count me as a philistine.

24th Jul 2011, 09:16
Done. Years ago.;)

24th Jul 2011, 09:30

Quite prescient. Looks like a Google earth projection.


24th Jul 2011, 09:32
Look a painting is only worth what anyone is prepared to pay for it. In front of me now are a pair of paintings bought by my wife, one in Prague one in Vietnam. Neither will set the art world on fire. But we like them.

No one has to do anything the art world tells them. If you don't like something don't look at it and don't buy it. If you think something is more like the daubings of a drunken Chimpanzee that's fine.

If you think the painting of a fat lady on a couch is overpriced you are probably right. But the artist didn't slap it together and then said that will be $33 million please. He just painted it and left it there for you to judge whether you liked it or not. Someone did and paid a lot of money for it.

Art appreciation is personal.

24th Jul 2011, 09:58
The thing about the Kate Ceberano is that while it is obviously done by a talented artist, you have to say - why? The end result is something that could have been achieved by a good photographer in a fraction of the time (and one assumes at a fraction of the cost). Decorative, yes, but art? Probably not, in my book anyway.

24th Jul 2011, 10:30
Always been a bit of a Kate Ceberano fan, as her Dad taught me Karate. :)


‪John Farnham - 50th Birthday Party - Part 2‬‏ - YouTube

(Kate sings starting at 4:10)

24th Jul 2011, 10:33
Mrs OFSO is a sculptor* and painter. She sculpts and paints things that look like what they are supposed to be. We often discuss the "value added" in carrying out this work. After all, the raw materials are just canvas and paint and bronze, aren't they (mind you with the price of bronze recently it ain't no joke paying for sculptures to be cast).

But I'm sorry: no way is ANY work of art worth millions, even when it is a "work of art". As for modernist rubbish or unmade beds or sharks in formaldehyde, words fail us.

* Just recently she's sculpted in bronze some deceased dogs for their owners. Didn't earn much in monetary terms, but when the DD's owners tell Mrs OFSO they "stroke her sculptures every morning in memory of their DD's", now that's real "wages earned" and more important than any money is the knowledge that the work is praised for itself and not valued because it cost a fortune to buy...

24th Jul 2011, 10:36
Personally, I feel really sorry for the poor bloke underneath her who has his hand on her right boob. How is he breathing???

24th Jul 2011, 10:46
There's a theory about how Impressionism came about.... they were all short sighted. Think about it. I'm short sighted and without my glasses/contacts the whole world appears as one magnificent impressionist painting to me!

Seurat, in my thoughts, was the forerunner of how your TV works - the dot technique....

Back to Freud. I am of the camp that I wouldn't particularly like most of his pictures on my wall but you can't deny that they are arresting and compulsively draw your attention to them. I have seen some of his painting in real life and, like Flying Lawyer said, I arrived thinking 'don't like him and his style' and left thinking 'actually.... wow!'

Art is art is art. People are people are people.

Worrals in the wilds
24th Jul 2011, 14:08
I have seen some of his painting in real life and, like Flying Lawyer said, I arrived thinking 'don't like him and his style' and left thinking 'actually.... wow!'Same here, with other artists. As a semi-well travelled person who's been to a lot of galleries (sometimes practically at gunpoint :\) I think that's often the case. Artworks that don't reproduce well are sometimes mesmerising in the canvas, whereas artworks you crossed a continent for are sometimes a little over-rated. I actually liked the Mona Lisa, an unassuming picture in reproduction but strangely engaging in real life, even with all the security BS around it.

Pro Hart deserves my public apology. I thought he was a charlatan until I visited the Broken Hill Art Gallery quite by chance and saw some of his un-publicised works. Awesome. I don't know why they keep re-printing his crap stuff.:confused: Same goes for the Parliament House tapestry, which I always hated until I saw it in real life and was entranced. (I then went to another really boring gallery full of portraits and missed a public parliamentary session where some old lady threw her false teeth at John Howard and got turfed out by security. Ripped Off! :})

As for Kate, the portrait won the Archibald Packers' Prize, not the Archibald itself. One thing I've always liked about the Archibald is that in recent times they've given two awards; the Archibald Prize (for high-brow portraiture) and the Packers Prize, also for portraiture but is voted on by the guys/gals who unpack the finalist artworks. It tends to show 1. what the intelligenstia prefer and 2. what the public prefer and as such, keeps everyone happy or at least madly discussing both choices, which is the ultimate aim of Art Awards.

Flying Lawyer
24th Jul 2011, 19:50

If you like the Impressionists and haven't been there already, I recommend the Musée d'Orsay when you're next in Paris. Wonderful collection of Degas, Manet, Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, van Goch and more.

Interesting building too. Former railway station on the banks of the Seine opposite the Tuileries Gardens.


24th Jul 2011, 20:14
I've been there a number of times FL, as well as several other places, including the Hermitage in St Petersburgh.

Had to go back to the Hermitage a few times, and want to go back many more times, as it is impossible to digest everything in one visit - it is huuuuuuge! And from the moment you walk in and see the massive gold chandeliers you start to suffer from cultural overload indigestion - a fascinating place and constantly changing due to only being able to display a minute percentage of their stocks. When you see/know how big the place is, the mind gently boggles.

View of The Hermitage from the Neva river, bearing in mind that is only the frontage...


A couple of the different MASSIVE chandeliers in the museum...



I really felt quite at home there! :}

24th Jul 2011, 20:47
I agree that there is "art that I reckon is good", which is different from "art I like" which differs again from "art I would hang on my wall."

We have a house with very little free wall space, and 30 or so more oil and watercolour paintings stored away, bought over the years, but that we don't have wall space to hang. That's the problem with downsizing :)

There are a (very) few paintings that have evoked the "Wow!" response when I saw them for the first time:
One was Renoir's "La Place Clichy" that called to M and me across a large room at the Fitzwilliam.
Another is Sassoferrato's "Virgin in Prayer" at the National Gallery.

Walking round Henry Moore's display area at Perry Green was another such experience. I'd not come "close and personal" to his work till then, and it changed me from cynical to convinced.

But Tracey Emin's stuff leaves me cold.

Flying Lawyer
24th Jul 2011, 21:23

I should have guessed. :)

I'd like to go to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. I'm envious - I haven't been to Russia yet.
Understand re 'cultural overload indigestion'. A half-day at a time at a museum/gallery is generally enough for me.

24th Jul 2011, 21:46
...,.has a super Art History museum which I loved, especially the Breughels. They are (in a medieval way) rather like Giles cartoons with lots of things going on in all the corners and "round the back of the bike sheds" stuff.
Baroque churches on the other hand??? I bulk out very early on them; too much, way over the top bling style decoration.

The Ancient Mariner

24th Jul 2011, 21:58
Sometimes nature helps art reveal itself. Cadillac Ranch, Route 66:


25th Jul 2011, 04:55
I'm with tony on this. Mr Kopfler sums it up nicely In the Gallery.

Howard Hughes
25th Jul 2011, 06:29
Kate Ceberano *sigh*

Pity she is a Scientologist!:ooh:

Flying Lawyer
25th Jul 2011, 16:37
BlacksheepMr Kopfler sums it up nicely In the Gallery.

I agree.
'Harry' in the song was Leeds sculptor Harry Phillips who didn't join the fashionable 'abstract expressionist' movement in the 60's so was "ignored by all the trendy boys" and "passed away in obscurity." Mark Knopfler and Harry's son Steve were good friends as teenagers, and performed together as a guitar duo.


BTW, a (probably useless) snippet:
Mark Knopfler bought the pre-war National steel resonator guitar used for Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms album cover from Steve Phillips. (Apologies to guitar guru Draper if I haven't described it correctly. ;))