T01994 FRUIT IN A DISH c.1915
Oil on canvas, 12×14 (30.5×35.6)
Purchased from Arthur Tooth and Sons Ltd. (Grant-in-Aid) 1975
Coll: Bought c.1926 by Miss Lucy Norton, probably from the Leicester Galleries; Arthur Tooth and Sons Ltd. 1928; Mrs Vincent Massey 1928; Mr Raymond Massey's first wife; Mr Vincent Massey; Mr Raymond Massey's third wife; Fullerton Fine Arts Services, Toronto
The date of this work is not known, though c.1915 seems likely. The discrete strokes of paint in between areas of bare canvas occur also in Matthew Smith's ‘Dulcie’ (City Art Gallery, Southampton) of 1915. The emphasis on lines also occurs in ‘Lilies’ of 1913 (Leeds City Art Gallery) and to a less extent in ‘Fitzroy Street Nude Number 1’ (Tate Gallery) and ‘Fitzroy Street Nude Number 2’ (British Council) both of 1916.
If in painting the parallel red lines in T01994 the artist has a representational intention, it may have been to suggest rays of sunlight. They also suggest a knowledge of Cubism, in particular, perhaps, Matisse's interpretation of Cubism in some paintings of c.1915. However, if T01994 does in fact date from c.1915 it is difficult to postulate such an influence from Matisse, as it seems unlikely Smith would have seen such paintings by Matisse in wartime.
Parallel strokes of paint, not as discrete as in T01994, are used to suggest the seat of a chair in Smith's ‘Apples on a Wicker Chair’, traditionally dated 1915 (coll. National Museum of Wales) though in a much more representational manner than in this painting.
A painting of c.1914–15 ‘Nude in Chair’ by Smith, belonging to the Guildhall Gallery, London, also has parallel lines which appear to lack a representational function. The model appears to be the same as in ‘Dulcie’ (Southampton Art Gallery).
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978