The Saville Sister Act –

The Saville Sister Act –

The name Jenny Saville may not be as well known as several of her other former YBA counterparts such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin due perhaps to Saville’s less in-your-face approach and her dedication to the more traditional practice of figurative painting. Saville’s work has, however, not gone un-noticed. Proof of this came on the 1st of July when a new auction record was set for Saville with a self portrait that sold for £505,250 (US$1,008,984) on an estimate of £140,000-180,000 (274,995 – 353,565 US$). There is no doubt that the price paid for the self portrait, which reminds me of Freud’s “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping”, is entirely justified as it is an extremely well executed work by a highly talented artist. Although Jenny Saville is a brilliant artist and a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with superficial attention seekers, I do believe that she has not utilised her talents as well she could have. Sticking to a very narrow medium and subject has somewhat limited the marketability and desirability of Saville’s work especially when she has to compete with the likes of Lucien Freud. I do admire the dedication and perseverance that the artist has shown to the painterly pursuits but if she is going to reach her potential in an ever evolving art market she will have to step outside of her comfort zone. Ironically I do think that the work of Jenny Saville is a good investment for the (very) long term but in a market that is focused on the here and now this may not be enough to excite contemporary art collectors and investors.

Hot on the heels of her older sister is the much less conventional but just as talented Boo Saville. Saville the younger is also skilled with the paint brush but has chosen to take more of a risk with her subject matter and her medium which has resulted in a body of work that is interesting, unique and challenging. It is unfortunate that Boo has had to live in the shadow of her older sister but her talents are started to be given the sort of recognition that they deserve. A recent group exhibition at Trolley gallery titled “DON’T STOP ME NOW – the body beyond death” which, according to Laura Jones of Artnet included “some outstanding ballpoint-pen drawings of sort-of-beautiful skulls by Boo Saville” who was described by Jones as having “lots of intergrity”. An awesome solo show at Martin Summers Fine Art of London lightened that shadow considerably and served as further proof of the future potential of this exciting young artist. I highly recommend the work of Boo Saville as being both artistically excellent and a great investment but you had better get in soon before more people catch on to Boo’s potential.

You can see more of Boo Saville’s work here:


1. Self Portrait by Jenny Saville

2. Shi by Boo Saville

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

One Response

  1. Not thank God!…Thank you Nicholas you exist darling!
    …everything in this life has a limit….
    apart from Art innit!
    Totally agree
    I’m sorry Saville but Freud exists..well done anyway..haha…really well donne!
    your sis Boo (what a brilliant name) seems to have a work just as brilliant as the name.
    INTERGRITY is very well said by Mr Jones.
    Tks again to Nic Forrest for bringing things up!

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