This exhibition brings together the expressionistic oeuvre of the Austrian artist Egon Schiele (1890 –1918) and works by the British painter Jenny Saville (b. 1970), for a fascinating dialogue between the virtuoso exponent of Viennese Modernism and a contemporary artist. The exaggerated, obsessive depiction of corporality compels the viewer to engage directly with the act of painting as a physical medium.
This is an open encounter between two artists separated by almost a century that unites contrast and convergence. The two visibly retain their autonomy, and Schiele is not posited as an influence on the later artist. While his work is presented in a loose chronological sequence, Saville’s paintings interact sometimes in isolation, sometimes in small groups of works or motifs. The airy hanging sets the visual tone, thus challenging the viewer’s perception. The exhibition confronts 35 paintings by Schiele with 16 large-format works by Jenny Saville as well as ‘studies’ that deal with texture and materiality – what Saville herself terms ‘mark-making’.
Some 55 works on paper offer an insight into Schiele’s mastery of the art of drawing. Presented in small groups focusing on selected themes, they reveal an artistic intensity that does not shy away from extremes.
Supported by the art insurer Nationale Suisse, other patrons and our sponsoring paint supplier Farrow & Ball.