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Jeffrey SMART

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 1921 – Italy 2013

  • Movements: United States of America and Europe 1948-50, Europe 1962-65, Italy from 1965

Playground at Piraeus c.1970 Pieve a Presciano, Tuscany, Arezzo province, Italy
paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Technique: synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Primary Insc: Signed bottom right "JEFFREY SMART" not dated
89.0 h x 75.0 w cm
framed 1095 h x 950 w mm
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 2010