23 facts about Jenny Saville

  • Jenny Saville was born in 1970 in Cambridge, England, She attended the Glasgow School of Art from 1988 to 1992, Saville also spent a term at the University of Cincinnati in 1991.
  • Jenny Saville went t the Lilley and Stone School ( now The Newark Academy) in Newark, Nottinghamshire, for her secondary education, later gaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Glasgow School of Art. During her six month scholarship to the University of Cincinnati she enrolled in a course in women’s studies where Saville was exposed to gender political ideas and renowned feminist writers.
  • Saville’s studies focused more on her interest in imperfections of the human flesh, with all of its implications and taboos. Saville had been captivated by details of the human body since she was a child; she has spoken of seeing the work of Titian and Tintoretto on trips with her uncle.
  • Jenny Saville is a contemporary British painter. She is known for large scale painted depictions of nude women.
  • 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, her time with the surgeon fueled her examination into the infinite ways that flesh is transformed and disfigured. Saville explored medical pathologies; viewed cadavers in the morgue; examined animals and meat; studied Classical and Renaissance sculpture; and observed couples in public, mothers with their children, individuals whose bodies challenge gender dichotomies, and more.
  • At the end of Saville’s undergraduate education, the leading British art collector, Charles Saatchi, saw her work at Clare Henry’s Critics Choice exhibition at the Cooling Gallery in Cork St. . He offered the artist an 18 month contract, supporting her while she created new works to be exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery in London.
  • As 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, Jenny Saville’s 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. She partially credits her interest in big bodies to Pablo Picasso, an artist that she sees as a painter that made his subjects solid and permanent.
  • Saville’s paintings refuse to fit smoothly into an historical arc; instead, each body comes forward, autonomous, voluminous, and always refusing to hide.
  • Saville has been credited with originating a new and challenging method of painting the female nude and reinventing figure painting for contemporary art.
  • Since her debut in 1992, Jenny Saville’s focus has remained on the female body. Her published sketches and documents include surgical photographs of liposuction, trauma victims, deformity correction, disease states, and transgender patients.
  • Jenny Saville’s work invokes a deep fascination in the palpability of flesh, extremities of anatomy, and the grotesque combined with an intuitive instinct of the handling of paint. Saville’s portraits are defined by an exaggerated realness, as she emphasizes folds of flesh, visible veins and reddened skin. Saville’s precise handling of paint and purposefully foreshortened perspectives show the female forms’ power as well as vulnerability.
  • Saville’s work comments on the contemporary obsession with the figure, from emaciated to obese bodies, her work synthesizes modes of representations of womanhood or fertility; Renaissance approaches to portraiture and paint handling; and the expressive techniques of Fauvist and Abstract expressionist painters.
  • Jenny Saville’s career has been marked by critical and commercial success since her art school days. Her graduate student show at the Glasgow School of Art sold entirely, with one of her paintings then featured on the cover of the Times Saturday in London. In the weeks that followed, gallerist Charles Saatchi purchased the entirety of her available oeuvre and commissioned a series of new works.
  • Jenny Saville is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York and has exhibited at London’s Tate Britain and the Royal Academy of Art.
  • Saville’s paintings can be found in major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
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Human perception of the body is so acute and knowledgeable that the smallest hint of a body can trigger recognition.
—Jenny Saville

Recent solo Exhibitions by Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford
Jenny Saville, Norton Museum of Art, Florida
Continuum, Gagosian Gallery, New York (Madison Avenue)
Reproduction Drawings, Gagosian Gallery, London
Jenny Saville, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome
Migrants, Gagosian Gallery, New York (Chelsea)
Closed Contact, Gagosian Gallery, LA (Beverly Hills)
Territories, Gagosian Gallery, New York (SoHo)
A Collaboration, Pace McGill Gallery, New York

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