Jenny Saville

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Jenny Saville is a renowned British painter, best known for her exuberantly rich, naturalistic portraits of huge, overweight, nude women, her work often focuses on particularly defiled or unattractive body parts, herself as well as of other individuals. Her work is said to exhibit startling similarities with the styles of Lucian Freud and Sir Peter Paul Rubbens, Jenny Saville is largely credited for instigating the reinvention of oil painting using the traditional methods and style. Saville’s work has been showcased at all the renowned and prestigious galleries in the world, she is an influential member of the Young British Artists group, in addition to teaching at the Slade School of Art, in London.

Jenny Saville was born in 1970, to a family of academicians in Cambridge, England. In 1988, she attended the Glasgow School of Art, in Scotland, Saville was incredibly disappointed at the lack of female teachers at the school, and it began marking itself in her paintings and she became a radical supporter of the feminist movement. Soon, she received a scholarship to the Cincinnati University, she spent the next six months in Ohio, and this was where she began his remarkably fascinating infatuation with painting physical assets of the human body, particularly obese, overweight and fleshy woman, and soon the human body began to be the centre of all her artistic inspirations. In addition to her artistic infatuation with overweight and fleshy women and their body parts, she began devouring feministic literature, and these two combined to make a profound and deep influence on her works, particularly the works she presented for her degree show at the University of Glasgow.

Her career took off immediately, starting from her college degree show, where all her paintings were an instant hit and were rapidly sold out, an incredibly impressive success for a 22 year old, young artist. Soon, Charles Saatchi began to exhibit a deep appreciation for Saville’s work that he had seen in the iconic and successful 1993 show, “Critic’s Choice”, at the Cooling Gallery in London. Impressed and quite taken with her work, Saatchi began to track down all Saville’s paintings and bought them for his own gallery. In addition to this, he commissioned Saville to make a series of works for him, which were showcased in a huge and large-scale exhibition in 1994, centred on Saville’s work, at his gallery in London. This show garnered Saville immense attention and fame, and firmly established her as a leading and influential artist, her works began to be exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums including the Pace McGill in New York, the Museum of Kalmar in Stockholm, and the Royal College of Art in London.

In 1994, Saville moved to New York City for a brief period of time, where she studied the meticulous and complicated works of plastic surgeons, particularly Dr. Barry Martin Weintraub, she spent hours taking pictures while cosmetic surgeons performed surgeries such as liposuctions. In 1997, Saville collaborated with a group of renowned and notable young artists including Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Marcus Harvey, Tracey Emin, and Chris Ofili, among others, in the exhibition of the controversial and widely publicized 1997 “Sensation” at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Saville’s work was applauded and despite garnering ample criticism and controversy, it was also showcased at multiple galleries New York as well as the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Currently, Jenny Saville lives in London, England where she is an influential teacher of figure painting at the Slade School of Art in London.

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