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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.

A deep, abiding love affair

‘I’d swap anything I do to have him back.’  How does an artist work through the loss of her heart’s beat?

1 After Jack, 2012 Jenny Sages. © Jenny Sages. 2 My Jack, 2011 Jenny Sages. Private collection. © Jenny Sages. Photo © AGNSW.

Artist Jenny Sages met her husband Jack in 1954 and it was love at first sight.  When Jenny dedicated herself to painting, she had Jack’s unwavering support for the next three decades. While she spent long hours in the studio, Jack made dinner. He also made her frames. The last frame he made was for the only portrait Jenny ever painted of Jack – an intimate, personal work. He was ill, and passed away just three months later.  The following year Jenny painted her self-portrait, After Jack, 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’.  For 55 years the two belonged to each other, and Jenny continues on in Jack’s absence: ‘The only way I survive this is because I have my work.  I don’t want to let him down.’

That’s one to get your heart started! You are 9 stories away from seeing your love score...

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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.

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