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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

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait with Two Circles, c. 1665, English Heritage, The Iveagh Bequest (Kenwood, London). Photo: Historic England Photo Library

Tour

Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now
In partnership with English Heritage

Thursday, April 25, 2019, 6pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London

Gagosian director and art historian Richard Calvocoressi will lead a tour of the exhibition Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. Calvocoressi will take a look at postwar and contemporary masters of self-representation, anchoring the conversation to an important Rembrandt masterpiece included in the exhibition, Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665). The event has reached capacity. To join the wait list, contact londontours@gagosian.com.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait with Two Circles, c. 1665, English Heritage, The Iveagh Bequest (Kenwood, London). Photo: Historic England Photo Library

Jenny Saville, Red Fates, 2018 © Jenny Saville

In Conversation

Jenny Saville
Claudia Schmuckli

Saturday, February 9, 2019, 10am
San Francisco Art Institute
www.sfai.edu

As part of the San Francisco Art Institute’s symposium Situational: The Body in Contemporary Painting, Jenny Saville will speak with the institute’s Claudia Schmuckli, curator in charge of contemporary art and programming. The pair will discuss what constitutes a contemporary body, how pressing issues are being translated rhetorically through the body, and the diverse artistic vantage points situated within figurative painting today. To attend the free event, register at www.sfai.edu.

Jenny Saville, Red Fates, 2018 © Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Red Stare Collage, 2007–09 © Jenny Saville

In Conversation

Jenny Saville
Jennifer Doyle

Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 7:30pm
The Broad, Los Angeles
www.thebroad.org

Jenny Saville and Jennifer Doyle, author and professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, will be in conversation as part of the Broad’s talk series The Un-Private Collection. The pair will discuss Saville’s work in the museum’s collection as well as contemporary art history, gender studies, and critical theory. To attend the event, purchase tickets at www.thebroad.org.

Jenny Saville, Red Stare Collage, 2007–09 © Jenny Saville

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Museum Exhibitions

Jenny Saville, Intertwine, 2011–14 © Jenny Saville

Closed

Jenny Saville

June 18, 2018–March 15, 2019
Economou Foundation, Athens
www.thegeorgeeconomoucollection.com

This focused show presents an overview of Jenny Saville’s work dating from 1993 to 2015. It includes the important early work Cindy (1993), which introduced Saville’s concern with corporeality and anticipated her ongoing engagement with the manipulation of the body and the construction of a gendered identity.

Jenny Saville, Intertwine, 2011–14 © Jenny Saville

Michael Andrews, A Man Who Suddenly Fell Over, 1952, Tate © The Estate of Michael Andrews

Closed

Bacon, Freud, and the School of London Painters

October 9, 2018–January 13, 2019
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
mng.hu

In the decades following World War II, Bacon, Freud, and their British contemporaries engaged with subjects that felt immediate and intensely personal. This exhibition retraces their artistic developments via works, including paintings and drawings, spanning seven decades. Despite the sheer diversity of approaches and techniques that embodied their practices, the members of this group were constantly renewing their individual appraisals of the artist’s personal position in the world, focusing on individuals, locations, and narratives close and dear to them. The exhibition was initially produced under the title Bacon, Freud, and the London Painters by ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark. Work by Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, Glenn Brown, Alberto Giacometti, and Jenny Saville is included.

Michael Andrews, A Man Who Suddenly Fell Over, 1952, Tate © The Estate of Michael Andrews

Jenny Saville, Rosetta II, 2005–06 © Jenny Saville

Closed

Now
Jenny Saville

March 24–September 16, 2018
Scottish National Gallery
www.nationalgalleries.org

This presentation will mark the first museum exhibition of Saville’s work ever to be staged in Scotland. Featuring monumental paintings and drawings that Saville, a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, completed between 1992 and 2018, the show will explore her singular and dynamic approach to gesture, composition, materials, and subject matter.

Jenny Saville, Rosetta II, 2005–06 © Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reverse, 2003 © Jenny Saville

Closed

All Too Human
Bacon, Freud, and a Century of Painting Life

February 28–August 27, 2018
Tate Britain, London
www.tate.org.uk

In the decades following World War II, Bacon, Freud, and their British contemporaries engaged with subjects that felt immediate and intensely personal. This exhibition retraces their artistic developments via works, including paintings and drawings, spanning seven decades. Despite the sheer diversity of approaches and techniques that embodied their practices, the members of this group were constantly renewing their individual appraisals of the artist’s personal position in the world, focusing on individuals, locations, and narratives close and dear to them. The exhibition was initially produced under the title Bacon, Freud, and the London Painters by ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark. Work by Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, and Jenny Saville is included.

Jenny Saville, Reverse, 2003 © Jenny Saville

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Press

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