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Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Propped, 1992 Oil on canvas, 84 × 72 inches (213.4 × 182.9 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Propped, 1992

Oil on canvas, 84 × 72 inches (213.4 × 182.9 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Trace, 1993 Oil on canvas, 84 × 72 inches (213.4 × 182.9 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Trace, 1993

Oil on canvas, 84 × 72 inches (213.4 × 182.9 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Figure 11.26, 1996–97 Oil on canvas, 60 × 60 inches (152.5 × 152.5 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Figure 11.26, 1996–97

Oil on canvas, 60 × 60 inches (152.5 × 152.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Fulcrum, 1998–99 Oil on canvas, 103 × 192 inches (261.6 × 487.7 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Fulcrum, 1998–99

Oil on canvas, 103 × 192 inches (261.6 × 487.7 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reverse, 2002–03 Oil on canvas, 84 × 96 inches (213.4 × 243.8 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reverse, 2002–03

Oil on canvas, 84 × 96 inches (213.4 × 243.8 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reflective Flesh, 2002–03 Oil on canvas, 120 ⅛ × 96 ⅛ inches (305.1 × 244 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reflective Flesh, 2002–03

Oil on canvas, 120 ⅛ × 96 ⅛ inches (305.1 × 244 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Torso II, 2004–05 Oil on canvas, 141 ¾ × 115 ¾ inches (360 × 294 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Torso II, 2004–05

Oil on canvas, 141 ¾ × 115 ¾ inches (360 × 294 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Rosetta II, 2005–06 Oil on watercolor paper mounted on board, 99 ¼ × 73 ¾ inches (252 × 187.5 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Rosetta II, 2005–06

Oil on watercolor paper mounted on board, 99 ¼ × 73 ¾ inches (252 × 187.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Red Stare Collage, 2007–09 Collage on board, 99 ¼ × 73 ¾ inches (252 × 187.3 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Red Stare Collage, 2007–09

Collage on board, 99 ¼ × 73 ¾ inches (252 × 187.3 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing IV (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2010 Charcoal on paper, 76 ⅜ × 57 ⅛ inches (194 × 145 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing IV (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2010

Charcoal on paper, 76 ⅜ × 57 ⅛ inches (194 × 145 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, The Mothers, 2011 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 106 ⅜ × 86 ⅝ inches (270 × 220 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, The Mothers, 2011

Oil and charcoal on canvas, 106 ⅜ × 86 ⅝ inches (270 × 220 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Study for Isis and Horus, 2011 Charcoal and pastel on paper, 78 × 58 ¼ inches (198 × 148 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Study for Isis and Horus, 2011

Charcoal and pastel on paper, 78 × 58 ¼ inches (198 × 148 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Dusk, 2014 Charcoal and pastel on canvas, 74 ⅞ × 61 inches (190 × 155 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Dusk, 2014

Charcoal and pastel on canvas, 74 ⅞ × 61 inches (190 × 155 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Oxyrhynchus, 2012–14 Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 67 × 98 ½ inches (170 × 250 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Oxyrhynchus, 2012–14

Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 67 × 98 ½ inches (170 × 250 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, In the realm of the Mothers II, 2014 Charcoal on canvas, 106 ¼ × 135 ⅞ inches (270 × 345 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, In the realm of the Mothers II, 2014

Charcoal on canvas, 106 ¼ × 135 ⅞ inches (270 × 345 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Voice of the Shuttle (Philomela), 2014–15 Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 110 ¼ × 141 ¾ inches (280 × 360 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Voice of the Shuttle (Philomela), 2014–15

Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 110 ¼ × 141 ¾ inches (280 × 360 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Pastel Bodies, 2014 Pastel on paper, 59 ⅞ × 48 ¼ inches (152 × 122.5 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Pastel Bodies, 2014

Pastel on paper, 59 ⅞ × 48 ¼ inches (152 × 122.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Aleppo, 2017–18 Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 78 ⅜ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Aleppo, 2017–18

Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 78 ⅜ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Chapter (for Linda Nochlin), 2016–18 Charcoal on cotton duck canvas, 102 ½ × 93 inches (260.4 × 236.2 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Chapter (for Linda Nochlin), 2016–18

Charcoal on cotton duck canvas, 102 ½ × 93 inches (260.4 × 236.2 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Red Fates, 2018 Oil on canvas, 94 ½ × 102 ⅜ inches (240 × 260 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Red Fates, 2018

Oil on canvas, 94 ½ × 102 ⅜ inches (240 × 260 cm)
© Jenny Saville

About

Human perception of the body is so acute and knowledgeable that the smallest hint of a body can trigger recognition.
—Jenny Saville

In her depictions of the human form, Jenny Saville transcends the boundaries of both classical figuration and modern abstraction. Oil paint, applied in heavy layers, becomes as visceral as flesh itself, each painted mark maintaining a supple, mobile life of its own. As Saville pushes, smears, and scrapes the pigment over her large-scale canvases, the distinctions between living, breathing bodies and their painted representations begin to collapse.

Born in 1970 in Cambridge, England, Saville attended the Glasgow School of Art from 1988 to 1992, spending a term at the University of Cincinnati in 1991. Her studies focused her interest in “imperfections” of flesh, with all of its societal implications and taboos. Saville had been captivated with these details since she was a child; she has spoken of seeing the work of Titian and Tintoretto on trips with her uncle, and of observing the way that her piano teacher’s two breasts—squished together in her shirt—became one large mass. While on a fellowship in Connecticut in 1994, Saville was able to observe a New York City plastic surgeon at work. Studying the reconstruction of human flesh was formative in her perception of the body—its resilience, as well as its fragility. Her time with the surgeon fueled her examination into the seemingly infinite ways that flesh is transformed and disfigured. She explored medical pathologies; viewed cadavers in the morgue; examined animals and meat; studied classical and Renaissance sculpture; and observed intertwined couples, mothers with their children, individuals whose bodies challenge gender dichotomies, and more.

A member of the Young British Artists (YBAs), the loose group of painters and sculptors who came to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Saville reinvigorated contemporary figurative painting by challenging the limits of the genre and raising questions about society’s perception of the body and its potential. Though forward-looking, her work reveals a deep awareness, both intellectual and sensory, of how the body has been represented over time and across cultures—from antique and Hindu sculpture, to Renaissance drawing and painting, to the work of modern artists such as Henri Matisse, Willem de Kooning, and Pablo Picasso. In the striking faces, jumbled limbs, and tumbling folds of her paintings, one may perceive echoes of Titian’s Venus of Urbino (c. 1532), Rubens’s Christ in the Descent from the Cross (1612–14), Manet’s Olympia (1863), and faces and bodies culled from magazines and tabloid newspapers. Saville’s paintings refuse to fit smoothly into an historical arc; instead, each body comes forward, autonomous, voluminous, and always refusing to hide.

Jenny Saville

Photo: Pal Hansen/Getty Images

Jenny Saville, Pietà I, 2019–21, charcoal and pastel on canvas

Jenny Saville: A cyclical rhythm of emergent forms

An exhibition curated by Sergio Risaliti, director of the Museo Novecento, Florence, pairs artworks by Jenny Saville with artists of the Italian Renaissance. On view across that city at the Museo Novecento, the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the Museo degli Innocenti, and the Museo di Casa Buonarroti through February 20, 2022, the presentation features paintings and drawings by Saville from the 1990s through to work made especially for the occasion. Here, Risaliti reflects on the resonances and reverberations brought about by these pairings.

A Jenny Saville painting titled Self-Portrait (after Rembrandt), oil on paper

Jenny Saville: Painting the Self

Jenny Saville speaks with Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, about her latest self-portrait, her studio practice, and the historical painters to whom she continually returns.

Jenny Saville’s Prism (2020) on the cover of Gagosian Quarterly magazine.

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2020

The Winter 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Jenny Saville’s Prism (2020) on its cover.

Jenny Saville, Study for Pentimenti I, 2011, graphite and pastel on paper.

Shortlist
Five Preoccupations: Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville shares a selection of the books, films, and more that have been her companions in the quiet of the shutdowns in recent months and as she looks ahead to a new exhibition next year.

Jenny Saville in her studio.

In Conversation
Jenny Saville and Nicholas Cullinan

Jenny Saville speaks with Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, from her studio. They discuss portraiture, her latest work, and her art historical influences, as well as the shifting nature of perception in the age of digital communication.

Left: Sally Mann, Self-Portrait, 1974; right: Jenny Saville in her studio, c. 1990s.

In Conversation
Sally Mann and Jenny Saville

The two artists discuss being drawn to difficult subjects, the effects of motherhood on their practice, embracing chance, and their shared adoration of Cy Twombly.

Still from video Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt

Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt

Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.

Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019

The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.

Jenny Saville Now

Jenny Saville Now

On the occasion of a major survey of the artist’s work, Dr. Simon Groom, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, studies the evolution of Jenny Saville’s practice.

Jenny Saville: Ancestors

Jenny Saville: Ancestors

In this video, Jenny Saville speaks about Ancestors and her new works currently on view at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York.

Jenny Saville and Dr. Simon Groom

In Conversation
Jenny Saville and Dr. Simon Groom

Jenny Saville discusses the beginnings and evolutions of her painting practice with Dr. Simon Groom, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. She speaks candidly on her endless passion for painting the figure, the beauty of struggle, motherhood, and the artists that have inspired her.

Jenny Saville on Willem de Kooning

Jenny Saville on Willem de Kooning

In 2013, the exhibition Willem de Kooning: Ten Paintings, 1983–1985 explored the legendary artist’s late work. For the catalogue accompanying the presentation, Jenny Saville spoke on the gestures and elemental elegance of these paintings.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Left: Jenny Saville. Photo: A. Saville. Right: Martin Gayford. Photo: Geraint Lewis

In Conversation

Jenny Saville
Martin Gayford

Friday, November 18, 2022, 6:30pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London

Join Gagosian for a conversation between Jenny Saville and art critic and author Martin Gayford in conjunction with the exhibition Friends and Relations: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews opening at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, on November 17. Taking Saville’s momentous encounter with Francis Bacon’s work in his 1985 Tate retrospective in London as a starting point, the pair will discuss the revelatory influence the artists in the exhibition have had on Saville’s own practice, as well as how her continued exploration of the human form relates to how these masters of portraiture have approached the subject. Gayford will also speak with the artist about her most recent works on view in the exhibition Jenny Saville: Latent at Gagosian, rue de Castiglione, Paris, through December 22.

Register

Left: Jenny Saville. Photo: A. Saville. Right: Martin Gayford. Photo: Geraint Lewis

Jenny Saville, Chasah, 2020 © Jenny Saville

In Conversation

Jenny Saville
Skarlet Smatana

Wednesday, November 9, 2022, 4–5pm
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut
britishart.yale.edu

Jenny Saville will speak with Skarlet Smatana, director of the George Economou Collection in Athens, as part of the Yale Center for British Art’s Artists in Conversation series, which brings together curators and artists to share insights into their work. The pair will discuss Saville’s practice and her interest in the human body and imperfections of the flesh. The event is free and open to the public.

Jenny Saville, Chasah, 2020 © Jenny Saville

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Georg Baselitz; © Louise Bonnet; © Zeng Fanzhi; © 2019 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved; © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Martin Wong

Art Fair

Art Basel Hong Kong 2022

May 27–29, 2022, booth 1C15
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 with an ensemble of contemporary works by international artists. The gallery’s presentation will feature works by artists including Georg BaselitzLouise BonnetEdmund de WaalUrs FischerKatharina GrosseMark GrotjahnJennifer GuidiSimon HantaïHao LiangDamien HirstThomas HouseagoTetsuya IshidaAlex IsraelEwa JuszkiewiczRick LoweTakashi MurakamiAlbert OehlenNam June PaikGiuseppe PenoneRudolf PolanszkySterling RubyEd RuschaJenny SavilleJim ShawRudolf StingelSpencer SweeneyRachel Whiteread, and Zeng Fanzhi.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Georg Baselitz; © Louise Bonnet; © Zeng Fanzhi; © 2019 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved; © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Martin Wong

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Museum Exhibitions

Jenny Saville, Fate 3, 2018 © Jenny Saville. All rights reserved, DACS 2022. Photo: Mike Bruce

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Hi Woman!
La notizia del futuro

December 1, 2021–March 27, 2022
Museo di Palazzo Pretorio, Prato, Italy
www.palazzopretorio.prato.it

Curated by Francesco Bonami, this exhibition, whose subtitle translates to The News of the Future, places painting, sculpture, video, and sound works by twenty-two women artists in dialogue with the Museo di Palazzo Pretorio’s permanent collection. The featured works examine the concept of “annunciation” and underline the centrality of the female subject in ancient and contemporary narratives Work by Huma Bhabha and Jenny Saville is included.

Jenny Saville, Fate 3, 2018 © Jenny Saville. All rights reserved, DACS 2022. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, Study for the Eyes of Argus, 2021 (detail) © Jenny Saville. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

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Jenny Saville

September 30, 2021–February 27, 2022
Various venues in Florence, Italy
www.museonovecento.it

Jenny Saville is the subject of an exhibition project conceived and curated by Sergio Risaliti, director of the Museo Novecento, in collaboration with four other major museums in Florence: Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Museo degli Innocenti, and Museo di Casa Buonarroti. The multipart exhibition places Saville’s paintings and drawings in dialogue with masterworks of the Italian Renaissance, including some of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpieces, offering a revealing encounter between the contemporary and the historical. Correspondences include the monumentality of Saville’s paintings—a distinctive feature of her figurative language since her early career—as well as her research focused on the body and flesh of her naked subjects. 

Jenny Saville, Study for the Eyes of Argus, 2021 (detail) © Jenny Saville. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Lil’ Barbara, 2017 © Nathaniel Mary Quinn

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Person of Interest

January 31, 2020–July 3, 2021
Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
sheldonartmuseum.org

Exploring nuances in portraiture from the late nineteenth century to today—and testing the very definition of the genre—Person of Interest presents depictions of the literal and abstracted body from Sheldon’s rich holdings and selected loans. This exhibition asks open-ended questions about self-fashioning, cultural memory, gender identity, and the performance of identity. In doing so, it prompts conversations about race and representation, institutional power, and lived experiences. Work by Nathaniel Mary Quinn and Jenny Saville is included.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Lil’ Barbara, 2017 © Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Installation view, The Human Body, Hill Art Foundation, New York, April 29–June 26, 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Jenny Saville, © Richard Prince, © Ron Mueck, Anthony van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens. Photo: Matthew Herrmann

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The Human Body

April 29–June 26, 2021
Hill Art Foundation, New York
hillartfoundation.org

This exhibition, curated from the Hill Collection by Karel Schampers, examines the human body through figurative work from the last five hundred years. The installation spans two floors and visitors are encouraged to view the works from different levels and vantage points, creating a dialogue across diverse periods and mediums. The foundation’s collection of Renaissance bronzes  is featured alongside works by artists such as Francis Bacon, Richard Prince, Jenny Saville, Rudolf Stingel, and Andy Warhol.

Installation view, The Human Body, Hill Art Foundation, New York, April 29–June 26, 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Jenny Saville, © Richard Prince, © Ron Mueck, Anthony van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens. Photo: Matthew Herrmann

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Press

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