Leanne Shapton
Swimming Studies, Vals, 2012, Framed/Unframed

These ink paintings by illustrator, author and publisher Leanne Shapton are selected from original pages of her 2012 graphic novel Swimming Studies. The novel gathers fragments of text and imagery that together form a nuanced archive of Shapton’s experience as a competitive swimmer in her adolescence, her voluntary ‘retirement,’ and the transferral of discipline to an art practice. Swimming Studies won the 2012 National Book Critic's Circle Award for autobiography, and was long listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2012.

The Vals series were made during a vacation to the Hotel Therme Vals thermal pools in Switzerland, fulfilling a long-term desire of Shapton’s to swim in their famed granite-lined, cave-like pools. In a chapter titled Bathing she writes, “Between my thrice-daily swims, I paint the view from my window twenty-three times.” These paintings are reproduced in the preceding chapter, and represent her newfound understanding of swimming as a recreational rather than competitive activity. 

Leanne Shapton, b. 1973, is a Canadian artist and writer. She lives and works in New York City. She has authored many critically acclaimed books including, Was She Pretty?, Women In Clothes, Toys Talking, Swimming Studies, Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry, and Sunday Night Movies. She is also a partner in the New York/Atlanta based publisher, J&L Books.

Ink on paper

Each unique

4.6 × 6.5 inches unframed

9 × 11 inches framed

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