Skip to main content

Study (a) for portrait of Helen Garner
, 2003

by Jenny Sages

charcoal, pencil and oil on canvas (support: 30.5 cm x 23.0 cm)

These sketches of Helen Garner record the hours she and Jenny Sages spent talking together in the studio atop the artist's home in Sydney's eastern suburbs. The space is a bright eyrie, and though they are 'preparatory' works these paintings are good examples of Sages's skill at capturing the light of varying times of day. The artist had approached the author as a stranger, but having met, the two soon formed a comfortable connection. In 2010 Garner revisited the space, to talk with Sages and filmmaker Catherine Hunter about the experience of having her portrait painted. Although the recent meeting was 'set up' for the purpose of the film, Sages found that everyone relaxed straight away, and conversation and laughter amongst the three women - one in her forties, one in her fifties and one in her seventies (one mother, and two grandmothers) - flowed naturally.

Caption: Sarah Engledow, National Portrait Gallery

Gift of J Sages Family Trust 2009
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2009.28