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Jenny Saville [Hardcover]

Gagosian Gallery
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 8 2005
At thirty-two, Jenny Saville has had a career most artists twice her age would envy. In 1992, the year she completed her studies at Glasgow School of Art, her graduation exhibition sold out. Most notably, one painting was bought by Charles Saatchi and, since then, her international reputation has grown at a rapid and steady pace.Jenny Saville is described as a "New Old Master" for the technical proficiency of her oversize nudes that have earned her comparisons to Rubens and Lucian Freud and universal praise from critics and art historians alike. For the conceptual underpinnings of her work, she has been hailed as one of the most interesting artists of the last decade. Her work has been shown alongside that of Damien Hirst and the other Young British Artists in the acclaimed and seminal survey of new British art Sensation at the Royal Academy (London, 1997) and the Brooklyn Museum of Art (New York, 2000).This is the only monograph devoted to the critically acclaimed young artist and features all of Jenny Saville's paintings to date-including many previously unpublished. This volume is being published in association with the Gagosian Gallery in London. The power of her brilliant and relentless embodiment of our worst anxieties about our own corporeality and gender is what distinguishes Saville from other paint-obsessed representers of the naked human body. To my eye, no other artist in recent memory has combined empathy and distance with such visual and emotional impact. -Linda Nochlin, Art in America, March 2000

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. British painter Saville has had a charmed career. As a student at the Glasgow School of Art, she sold out her graduation exhibit. (One of the paintings was bought by no less than Charles Saatchi.) At 27, she was included in the acclaimed (and, in New York City, notorious) Sensation show. And now, at 35, she is widely chatted about as one of Britain's most important young artists. One look at this gorgeous monograph, Saville's first, proves that all this success is well earned.Arranged chronologically, with paintings from 1992 to 2005, the volume reveals that though Saville's subject matter has hardly changed, her use of paint has evolved by leaps and bounds. Like Lucian Freud, Saville's fascinated with the body and the pigmentation of flesh, but her visions of it are both darker and brighter than his. Many of her paintings feature bodies that have been manipulated or damaged—by gender-changing plastic surgery, say, or by burns—but her rendering of these states is brilliantly colored. And in the most recent paintings ("Stare," "Passage," "Torso 2") the subject is set against a background of warm, Mediterranean blue that heightens both the images' beauty and their capacity to unnerve.Schama's interview with Saville—the best of the texts included here—provides insight into the artist's methods and her ambition to keep improving technically ("I can barely look at the earlier paintings I made"), while the many photographs of her studio, drafts and source material show the ordinary-looking origins of her work, and the many close-shots record her expressionist use of paint. While no book can convey the power of Saville's oversize canvases, this well-composed volume provides an illuminating survey of her work. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Simon Schama is the art critic for the New Yorker as well as a world-renowned scholar. Schama has taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard and is now Professor of History at Columbia University where specializes in European cultural and environmental history and art history. Between 1999 and 2002 he wrote, presented, and filmed the fifteen-part A History of Britain for BBC Television. He is currently at work on a book about the Anglo-American relationship and an eight part television series for the BBC, The Power of Art.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars BREATHTAKING! Jan. 14 2011
Format:Hardcover
And delivery in record time, I cannot complain and this was a gift well received for my girlfriend who's also a talented painter!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Despite all the flaws of the book, Saville's Importance Rings True Dec 19 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Jenny Saville is a big painter! Probably one of the few painters in history whose career was launched at her finals show form art school, Saville has established herself as one of the more exciting figurative artists of our time. Right up there with Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud in her ability to splash daring observations and passions on huge canvases, she has already establish a 'look' that is unmistakable.

Not that Saville was the first painter to dwell on the massively/morbidly obese female (Freud's 'carcasses' were startlingly new, Haneline Rogeberg has painted the full figured female for years, etc), but her superimposition of surgical alteration and disease states together with the painterly style of describing flesh are startling and awe inspiring. Placing multiple figures together ('Fulcrum') or conjoined or simply overloading the capacity of a sitter's stool emphasizes the magnitude of her thoughts on her very large canvases.

Many people are grumbling about the design of the book and the paucity of completed works and to an extent this is reason for concern. The four essays may be old to those who have followed her career, but to those to whom Jenny Saville is a discovery these four writings do add depth to understanding her skyrocketing rise to fame. It is terrific to see photographs of the materials in her studio that have inspired her paintings: drawings, surgical photographs of liposuction, trauma victims, deformity correction, disease states, transgender patients and notes all add to the atmosphere of the studio where she works.

Perhaps the next monograph, and there surely will be one as Saville continues to grow and mature, will give us more new work. Until then at least we have a large book that congregates the bulk of her work and for that we should be grateful! Recommended. Grady Harp, December 05
58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Dissappointed, bad design, poor image quality, lacking text. Nov. 21 2005
By D. McGinnis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As an Artist (Painter) who buys many art books and counts Jenny Saville as one of his favorite younger painters, I have been eagerly awaiting this books release. I was also fortunate enough to get the Catalogue for Saville's Territories exhibition, and not I don't want to sell it. Considering the quality of the Territories and Migrants publications, my expectations for this book were admittedly high. I also saw both shows in person. As for this book, Disappointing is an understatement. Let's start with the obvious, it is incomplete and does not contain any of her earlier work and the text is nothing new, just a collection of older stuff. Then the reproduction quality is poor, the images are too small, the colors aren't accurate, they're overly contrasting. This leads me to believe that someone that never saw the actual works ran the images through some Photoshop printing filter and didn't actually compare the printed images to the paintings. In addition, the layout of the artwork in the book is just plain bad. Instead of centering the images on the page, they hug the center, which makes them awkward to look at. For a book publisher, this is unforgivable.

The positive aspects of the book are: well, there's finally a book on Saville and the photos of her studies, references and studio a well done, in fact there could be more. They do provide detail shots of her painting, which is mandatory with her work considering the scale. However, the few positives can't make up for a very poor book overall on an important contemporary artist.

One reviewer said, "Move over Lucian Freud", I think not. A comparison cannot be made until Saville is in her 80's, then we'll (well someone will) talk. While her earlier work is very impressive, I'm becoming concerned about where she is going paint wise. The earlier work has "character", the newer work and pieces from the Migrants exhibition seem slick, rushed and overly pretty. The new work also lacks the conceptual strength of the early work (her weak point anyway). It seems to me she's becoming a cliché of herself. The best comparison I can think of is the animation style of the early Simpsons or South Park compared to later years. The rough edges and distinctiveness have disappeared, replaces by standardization and predictability, never a good thing for an artist. I hope that this phase of Saville's career will pass quickly.

Final Score 4 out of 10
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars just par Nov. 12 2005
By Craig Sjursen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A little bit of a disappointment to be honest. Every painting in this book has been published already except for 'torso 1'. I think I was looking for the "complete works" not just some selected ones that the publisher thought was representing. On top of that, the writings by the late David Sylvester and Linda Nochlin where also previously published. On a good note, the people out there who don't already have the Territories, Migrants or Macro catalogues need not spend thousands of dollars trying to acquire them now. I did like the studio photos and the close-ups. It does give you a sense of how she works and what makes up her paintings. Nothing substitutes seeing Jenny Saville's work in person but being able to see her brush strokes does help a lot. I guess it's worth the thirty dollars or so for the book. Just don't look for a Catalogue Raisonne.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Nov. 9 2005
By James Colbert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm a simple painter with a large collection of art monographs. I was excited to learn of this release that I pre-ordered from Amazon back in September. This would be the first comprehensive tome on the young Miss Saville. I have bit and pieces here and there, but as you know, it's quite nice to have it collected in one serious, single book. It would have been great had that happened. Instead, I found a confusing collage of frank source material and paintings that does neither justice. Her monumental human landscapes and faces lose scale and the murky and lurid studio images almost take center stage. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think a more focused book on her paintings would feel more satisfying, although less trendy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm repulsed and yet I cannot look away... Jan. 30 2012
By Starry Eyes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have mixed feeling about this book. Jenny Saville is an amazing painter, but the subject matter is so grotesque I can never get through the book in one sitting without closing it in disgust. Dead meat, obese naked women, surgery & bloody flesh, hermaphrodites....I can't tell if she's disturbed or chooses these subjects for shock value to get attention in the art world. Whatever the case may be, her talent cannot be denied. The reason it is so disturbing is also the reason it is so great - because her rendering is so true to flesh. From the perspective of an art lover and a would-be painter, I am amazed by her talent and style. She definitely stands out, and this book deserves it's place in my art library.
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