Jeffrey SMART

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 1921 – Italy 2013

  • born Australia 1921 died Italy 2013 Europe and United States of America 1948-50, 1963 - 1970
  • Italy from 1971

Playground, Piraeus 1969/70 Place made: Rome, Lazio, Roma province, Italy
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Primary Insc: Signed bottom right "JEFFREY SMART" not dated

Dimensions: 89.0 h x 75.0 w cm framed (overall) 1098 h x 951 w x 55 d mm
Acknowledgement: Gift of Alcoa World Alumina Australia 2005
Accession No: NGA 2005.95


  • 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