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.
Created in response to the covid-19 pandemic, the Artist Spotlight series highlights individual artists, one week at a time, whose exhibitions have been affected by the health crisis. A single artwork by the artist is made available with pricing information for forty-eight hours only.
To conclude the series, Artist Spotlight: Jenny Saville features a new self-portrait made by the artist to commemorate her fiftieth birthday earlier this year. For more information, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: courtesy the artist
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
In this video, Jenny Saville speaks about Ancestors and her new works currently on view at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York.
Extended through July 23, 2018
May 3–July 23, 2018
West 21st Street, New York
Extended through July 9, 2016
April 14–July 9, 2016
Davies Street, London
June 13–July 26, 2014
Britannia Street, London
September 15–October 22, 2011
980 Madison Avenue, New York
Jenny Saville: Oxyrhynchus is available for online reading from July 22 through August 21 as part of Artist Spotlight: Jenny Saville. This publication features more than a dozen works from 2006 to 2014 in which the artist references the layer upon layer of discoveries at Oxyrhynchus, a city in upper Egypt that was established in 332 bce and is considered one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. The final effect is a mysterious narrative of layered bodies and images, conveyed in a combination of oil, charcoal, and pastel. An essay by art historian John Elderfield, built around the observations of multiple past voices and the artist herself, captures the temporal culture of visual art to which the Oxyrhynchus canvases belong.
Jenny Saville: Oxyrhynchus (London: Gagosian, 2015)
Life through a Microscope
In this video produced by the National Galleries of Scotland, Jenny Saville speaks about her practice on the occasion of her major survey at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, in 2018. She discusses her identity as a “picture maker,” the artistic freedom that having children has given her, and the importance of Titian.
Still from “Jenny Saville: Life through a Microscope”
Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 6:30–7:45pm
Royal Academy of Arts, London
On the occasion of the exhibition Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, Jenny Saville will speak with David Dawson, cocurator of the show. Saville will reflect on her relationship with self-portraiture and the effect it has had on her career, while Dawson will offer insight into Freud’s approach to the theme. The talk will be chaired by RA artistic director Tim Marlow. The event has reached capacity.
Jenny Saville, Self-Portrait (after Rembrandt), 2019 © Jenny Saville
Through September 20, 2020
This exhibition presents contemporary art that draws inspiration from historic masterpieces. A selection of paintings, plaster sculptures, drawings, graphic prints, and applied arts from Nationalmuseum’s vast collections are displayed in dialogue with contemporary objects. Work by Glenn Brown, Jeff Koons, Jenny Saville, and Cindy Sherman is included.
Jenny Saville, Black Mass (after Leonardo), 2008 © Jenny Saville
An exhibition dedicated to the memory of Michael Stanley
June 12–September 8, 2019
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England
This exhibition, dedicated to the memory of former Ikon director Michael Stanley, is structured loosely on Rex Warner’s 1941 wartime novel The Aerodrome, a book that made a great impression on Stanley. The show features many of the artists he worked with, including Michael Craig-Martin, Thomas Houseago, and Jenny Saville.
Jenny Saville, Portrait of Lola, 2019 © Jenny Saville
June 18, 2018–March 15, 2019
George Economou Collection, Athens
This focused presentation, featuring nine works dating from 1993 to 2015, provided an overview of Jenny Saville’s career. It included the important early painting Cindy (1993), which introduced Saville’s concern with corporeality, as well as a group of works made between 2011 to 2015 that show the artist’s shift from single to multiple figures and an increased layering of forms.
Jenny Saville, Intertwine, 2011–14 © Jenny Saville
Bacon, Freud, and the School of London Painters
October 9, 2018–January 13, 2019
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
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.
Jenny Saville, Untitled (Stare Study III), 2005–06 © Jenny Saville