Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 1921 – Italy 2013
Playground at Piraeus
Pieve a Presciano, Tuscany, Arezzo province, Italy
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Primary Insc: Signed bottom right "JEFFREY SMART" not dated
More than any other Australian painter, Jeffrey Smart has explored the aesthetics of our modern, constructed world. Born in Adelaide in 1921, he recalled: �In my early 20s I decided I�d painted my last billabong scene forever�.1 He instead devoted himself to painting images unique to our time: highways, airports, apartment blocks and factories. Smart asks us to look again at such prosaic subjects and to consider the possibility of discovering a new form of beauty in them. As he said:
I like living in the twentieth century � to me the world has never been more beautiful. I am trying to paint the real world I live in, as beautifully as I can, with my own eye.2
1 Jeffrey Smart, quoted in Janet Hawley, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 August 1996.
2 Jeffrey Smart, quoted in Jeffrey Smart retrospective, Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000, p20.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra