Lying in resplendent repose in the painter’s modest London studio, Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Resting is regarded as one of the most remarkable paintings of the human figure ever produced. Featuring Sue Tilley, a local government worker from London and one of the artist’s most celebrated sitters, this extraordinary portrait demonstrates Freud’s mastery of the painterly medium as he records the subtle nuances of Tilley’s ample figure with astute dexterity. Painted during a nine-month period in 1994, this remarkably candid portrait is a stunning essay on Freud’s patient painterly practice, in which he undertakes an exhaustive examination of the human form and renders every curve, fold, blemish and contour of Tilley’s body with a disquieting and deeply evocative force.
Benefits Supervisor Resting is the second in a series of four paintings featuring Sue Tilley, which Freud undertook over a three-year period beginning in 1993. The following painting in the series, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, was sold by Christie’s in 2008 for $33.6 million, making it—at the time—the most expensive painting by a living artist ever to be sold at auction. All four paintings have become some of the most celebrated in Freud’s oeuvre and were selected in recent years for the 2012 critically acclaimed retrospective of the artist’s portraits organized by London’s National Portrait Gallery.