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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.

Study of female ballet dancers, 2007

Jenny Sages

charcoal and pastel on paper (sheet: 24.5 cm x 33 cm)

Irina Baronova trained with the great Olga Preobrajenska in the Salle Wacker in Paris in the 1930s. Discovered by the renowned choreographer George Balanchine, she was soon to work with other legends including Léonide Massine and Michel Fokine. When she came to Australia in the late 1930s she created a sensation in roles such as the Queen of Shemakhan in 'Le Coq d'or', as Aurora in 'Aurora's wedding' and as 'Passion' in Massine's 'Les presages'. More than fifty years later, when she had moved to Australia and become a patron of the Australian Ballet School, she shared her unique experiences with young people in Melbourne. From that moment, they were directly connected to some of the all-time leading figures in dance. Jenny Sages was excited by the atmosphere around her friend in her professional sphere, and made many drawings for the sheer joy of being on the scene.

Caption: Sarah Engledow, National Portrait Gallery

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of J Sages Family Trust 2009
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Jenny Sages

Accession number: 2009.25

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Jenny Sages (age 74 in 2007)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Jenny Sages (27 portraits)

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.

Making Stories video: 3 minutes
Making Stories video: 3 minutes
Making Stories video: 3 minutes
Making Stories video: 3 minutes

Kate Grenville

'Making Stories'

Portrait story

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

Each morning when I wake up I put on my mothers face, 2000
Each morning when I wake up I put on my mothers face, 2000
Each morning when I wake up I put on my mothers face, 2000
Each morning when I wake up I put on my mothers face, 2000

Paths to portraiture

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

The life and art of Australian artist Jenny Sages is on display in the exhibition Paths to Portraiture.

Irina Baronova (handing on the baton), 2007 Jenny Sages
Irina Baronova (handing on the baton), 2007 Jenny Sages
Irina Baronova (handing on the baton), 2007 Jenny Sages
Irina Baronova (handing on the baton), 2007 Jenny Sages

Handing on the baton

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond explores the life of ballerina Irina Baranova through the portrait by Australian artist Jenny Sages.

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© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

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Fax +61 2 6102 7001
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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.