Would You Pay $33.6 Million for This?

Somewhere in England sits Sue Tilley, a hefty 51-year-old woman, smiling happily, knowing that someone has paid a record $33.6 million for the painting of her lying naked on a couch for artist Lucian Freud.

It’s the most ever paid for a living artist’s work.

And it’s by far the most ever paid for an artwork of a morbidly obese woman.

The way I see it: You’re either a fan of big women and you’re into it that way; You’re repulsed by her and you like it for the shock value; or You’re that rare person that sees it for what it is, a woman unashamed to be herself, as open and vulnerable as the day is long. Then again, maybe you completely dislike it.

Personally, I kind of like it. I doubt I’d pay more than $500 for it, but I like it. $33.6 million? Hey, Mark Rothko makes mondo paint chips that sell for $72.84 million, man.

And I’m all excited when I can afford to spend $60 on a frame for one of my 11x14s. Fuck. Crazy.

Oh, right, we were talking about the proverbial eye of the beholder.

It’s interesting, isn’t it? That this would sell for that? Scandalous, would you say? Here’s what the story on CNN had to say:

The painting challenges modern notions of beauty and elicits a reaction from everyone who sees it. That may have been precisely the aim of Freud, who told London’s Tate Gallery in 2002 that he wanted his paintings to “astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.” Though some regard the painting as shocking — ugly, even — that is also the appeal for collectors, said Michael Hall, editor of Apollo Magazine in London.

“There’s a reaction against art that’s regarded as too pretty,” he said.

Hall said he thinks a more conventionally beautiful painting would not be able to fetch such a large amount.

“It’s the sort of thing that everyone immediately wants to voice an opinion about,” he said of the painting. “It challenges conventional taste … and people do find that rather exciting and interesting to talk about.”

It’s an awful lot to pay for a conversation, don’t you think? But it’s great.

I think the vulnerability is what’s so striking about it. A beautiful woman lying there isn’t taking much of a chance, but an obese woman like that, exposing herself and relaxing, it’s a really unexpected image in this day and age. She knows, we know, that people will be (and are) offended at the site of her.

And who’s got the last laugh this time, hey?

It’s refreshing to know that obesity– something television, magazines, and movies think is too horrific to put on display –has fetched $33.6 million from a single itty-bitty buyer.

Put that in yer pipe and smoke it, Hollywood chumps.