Connie Martin, 1915

by Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith


Sir Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith is a well respected artist and was awarded a C.B.E in 1949. He was also knighted in 1954. Additionally, his work has been exhibited in the Barbican Arts Centre, London, the Memorial exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1960, and the Tate Gallery held a large retrospective of his work in 1953.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 78.8 x 63.5 cms / 31.0 x 25.0 inches
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 5696 Categories: ,

Matthew Smith’s lifelong ties with France influenced his painting in matters of both colour and line. His early training in Manchester (1901), and in London at the Slade (1905), had equipped him with a methodical approach to the arts of drawing and painting.

Harold Smith, the artist’s brother, Cheshire. with Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, as ‘Peasant Woman in a Blue Blouse’.

Private collection, Canada

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London, Arthur Tooth & Sons, Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by Matthew Smith, October – November 1929, no. 3. London, Royal Academy, A Memorial Exhibition of Works by Sir Matthew Smith, C.B.E., 1879-1959, October – December 1960, no. 20.

Matthew Smith studied art at Manchester College of Technology (1901-5) and afterwards at the Slade School (1905-8). The early part of his career was spent in France and from 1908 he was in Etaples and Pont-Aven. He moved on to Paris, and briefly attended Matisse’s studio in 1910. His work was evidently influenced by Fauvism, although he was also interested in the work of Ingres, and his early work, which included still-life and portrait, paid attention to both colour and modelling.

As he matured, Smith’s painting demonstrated an increasing tension between direct observation of the motif and an exaggerated manner of drawing, emphasized by his use of complementary colours applied in large, unmodulated areas. He continued to paint from traditional subjects – nudes, still-lifes, landscapes and portraits, but developed a fast, alla prima technique which allowed full spontaneity and freedom of expression. He returned to live in France in the 1920s and 30s, and returned to London in 1940. He was represented at the Venice Biennale in 1938 and 1950, and awarded a knighthood in 1954.


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