Jeffery Smart 1921-2013
Jeffery Smart was known for landscape painting in very precise form showing urban scenes, ‘full of private jokes and playful allusions’1.
Smart’s works show modern urban scenes that are intriguing and somehow unsettling in their strange emptiness. A statement seems to be being made about modern life, but Smart was never prepared to offer a verbal explanation. He preferred people to make up their minds ‘leaving the interpretation as the prerogative of the individual viewer’2. He liked to paint the precise shape of scenes and he most readily found this in an urban or industrial landscape. Comment is often made about the figures he includes in the scenes and what they are there to convey. He says ‘the truth is I put figures in mainly for scale…My only concern is putting the right shapes in the right colours in the right places. It is always the geometry.’2
Smart produced many works. Between 1939 and 1982 it is believed he painted more than 800 and was still painting at 90, his last work being ‘Labyrinth’ completed in 2011.