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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

After Jack

2012
Jenny Sages

encaustic, oil and pigment on composition board (support: 120.0 cm x 190.0 cm)

Jenny Sages (b. 1933), artist, was born to Russian Jewish parents in Shanghai and came to Australia with her family in 1948. After studying art in Sydney and New York, Sages worked as a freelance illustrator and travel writer for books and fashion magazines including Vogue Australia. Following a trip to the Kimberley in 1983, Sages decided to become a full-time artist, concentrating on portraits, abstract and landscape works. A specialist in the medium of encaustic wax, since 1985 she has worked in a studio atop her home in Double Bay; she has held regular solo exhibitions since 1988. From 2010 to 2013 the National Portrait Gallery exhibition Jenny Sages: Paths to Portraiture toured around Australia. Sages won the Portia Geach Award in 1992 and 1994 and the Wynne Prize in 2005, and has been a finalist for the Archibald Prize twenty times.

Sages met her husband Jack in 1954 and it was love at first sight. For 55 years, she had his unwavering support. After Jack died in 2010, the couple's daughter Tanya photographed the widowed artist as she sat weeping. Later, Sages used Tanya's photographs as the basis for this self portrait, which won the 2012 Archibald Prize People's Choice award. Explaining the work's title, Jenny said simply 'Anything else I would paint … seemed trivial to me'.

Purchased 2018
© Jenny Sages

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Jenny Sages (age 79 in 2012)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Wesley Enoch and David McAllister
Wesley Enoch and David McAllister
Wesley Enoch and David McAllister
Wesley Enoch and David McAllister

Splendid, many-splendoured

Magazine article by Sandra Bruce, 2021

Sandra Bruce gazes on love and the portrait through Australian Love Stories’ multi-faceted prism.

Kate Grenville

'Making Stories'

Portrait story

Australian writer Kate Grenville discusses her career and portrait by Jenny Sages.

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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