Chantal Joffe


EscapeIntoLife_ChantalJoffe2Katherine 3, 2010, oil on canvas, 11.8 x 23.6 in.

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Grasshopper, 2009, oil on board, 96 x 72 in.

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Megan, 2010, oil on canvas, 84  x 60 in.

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Red Boat, 2008, oil on board, 95.7 x 72 in.

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Untitled, 2010, oil on board, 96 x 72 in.

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Kristen, 2008, oil on board, 96 x 72 in.

EscapeIntoLife_ChantalJoffe8Esme, 2011, oil on canvas, 38 x 36 x 2.2 in.

EscapeIntoLife_ChantalJoffe9Big Head, 2003, oil on board

About the Artist

Born in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England (UK) 1969; B.A. (Hons.) Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art in 1991; M.A. Fine Art, Royal College of Art, London, 1994; Lives and works in London, England

“I have to paint to have ideas; it could be a painting of a box of tea or anything lying around the studio. It’s about finding your way into your own brain.”

Joffe’s works celebrate the female form, she says “It’s because I think about women and their thoughts and ideas, and I suppose when I’m painting them I’m getting to be them, in a sense…I really love painting women. Their bodies, their clothes—it all interests me, whereas men really don’t that much, in a way.” Many of her images come from shots in fashion magazines and photos of friends. Joffe is not a realist. She distorts the women in her frames for ultimate psychological effect using her works to emphasize the psychological relations of her characters to one another and to the viewer.

A reviewer said of her “big rude paintings” that “she paints with a kind of easy control – effortless without being slick.” He further points out that her paintings may give an initial impression of simplicity, charm, or childishness, but “they have an unsettling quality which gives the exhibition an odd, rather menacing mood.”

Her paintings can be huge…with 10 feet tall canvases causing her process to be very physical, including using scaffolding. Unlike easel paintings, they could not easily be stepped back from to survey progress. As a result, the paint seems to have had as much control over the outcome as the artist; often a drip or a brushstroke creates a dynamic that could never have been premeditated.

Her distinctive style of painting offers an uncompromising sense of power, complexity and impetus to the female figures she portrays. The direct and liquid painting style has the effect of filling her subjects with personality. The images possess an alarming humor; highly enjoyable and strangely provoking. (DrMartinSurvey)

Chantal Joffe Interview by Stella Mc Cartney

Chantal Joffe at Victoria Mirò Gallery, London

Chantal Joffe at Cheim & Reid Gallery, New York

Chantal Joffe at Monica de Cardenas Galleria, Milano




  • Ahhh one of my great favourites! a bit like Elizabeth Peyton at times, but with a bit of extra humour, that is her originality and strenght, in my view. It is also the continuation of that legacy of intimate potraits mixed to pop art that goes from Alice Neel through David Hockney. Beautiful and beautiful post!!!

  • Thank you so much Mario, for your appreciation and for your contribution to the description of her work, I’m very pleased you enjoyed my post!

    I wonder if other readers agree that her work is in some ways reminiscent of that of US artist Elizabeth Peyton? 

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