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Chantal Joffe ('Self Portrait with Esme')

© Chantal Joffe

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Chantal Joffe ('Self Portrait with Esme')

by Chantal Joffe
oil on board, 2008
120 1/8 in. x 60 1/4 in. (3050 mm x 1530 mm) overall
Given by Victoria Miro Gallery, 2015
Primary Collection
NPG 7013

Sitterback to top

  • Chantal Joffe (1969-), Artist. Sitter in 2 portraits, Artist of 1 portrait.

Artistback to top

  • Chantal Joffe (1969-), Artist. Artist of 1 portrait, Sitter in 2 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The self-portrait has always been central to Chantal Joffe’s practice and acts as a marker, a moment of self-reflection. Joffe describes reaching a sublime, ecstatic state when she paints self-portraits: ‘For me there are moments in painting that are like a physical state, it’s like you lift off and go somewhere else. When I’m painting me I feel exquisite, so beautiful, but then that’s how I feel about all my sitters.’ Since the birth of her daughter, Esme, she too has often played a part in the self-portraits. These investigations of motherhood have been a way of the artist not only looking at herself, through exploring her own ageing body, but in turn, through depicting her daughter, reflecting on her own childhood and commemorating the present. In Chantal’s words it is in these self-portraits with her daughter that the ‘ongoing echoes following the now through the past’ are explored. The artist works on a monumental, larger than life-size scale such as this or on a minute scale. Given the importance of the subject and questions it addresses it seems fitting that the painting should be on this scale. Her figure paintings are generally painted quickly in just a few sittings on a large scale and this painting is based on the life. Although her painting is expansive and gestural, every mark, which may appear to be casual, is carefully considered.

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