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Sir Matthew Smith

Lillies (1913-14)


Painter of nudes, flowers, still-lifes and landscapes. Born in Halifax, he worked in Manchester before enrolling at the Art Department of the Manchester School of Technology in 1901. He attended the Slade school from 1905 and in 1907 met Gwendolin Salmond at a summer painting school at Whitby, whom he later married.

From 1908 to 1914 he worked mainly in France, painting at Pont-Aven, in Paris, where he attended the Atelier Matisse for a short period, at Dieppe, Etaples and Grez-sur-Loing.

From 1914 he lived in London and after demobilization in 1919 he returned to France, visiting Paris (where he met and was influenced by Roderic O'Connor) and Grez.

In 1920/21 he painted in Cornwall and subsequently spent much of his time in France, beginning a series of nudes of Vera Cuningham in Paris, 1923 - visiting Italy with her in 1927.

In 1929 he settled in Paris and continued to explore France, visiting Cagnes-sur-Mer and Aix-en-Provence, where he took a studio in 1937. He also took regular trips back to England during this period and eventually returned to London in 1940.

He first exhibited at the Salon des Independants in Paris in 1911 and subsequently showed regularly at the LG from 1916 (becoming a member in 1920) and held his first London solo exhibition at the Mayor Gallery in 1926.

He exhibited at the Reid & Lefervre Gallery and regularly at Arthur Tooth & Sons from 1929. His worked was included in the Venice Biennales of 1938 and 1950 and a retrospective was held at the Tate gallery, London in 1953. The Royal Academy staged a memorial exhibition of Smith's work in 1960.

Smith is represented in many international collections, including the Tate, London. He was awarded a CBE in 1949 and knighted in 1954.

Article By: Dave Roberts.

First Published: 2007.



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