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The paintings of the nude made by Smith in the winter of 1923-4 in Paris were a breakthrough to a new facility with colour. The use of such a harmony is French in style, and Smith was one of very few British artists to paint in this way.

Here the dark skinned model is dressed only in a red skirt, pulled up above her knees, and lies on a couch on blue and mauve cushions. The black background and absence of light give a feeling of enclosure, cutting out anything but the confrontation with the nude, made dramatic by the vigorous brushstrokes and unstable pose. The body is 'modelled' in colour, like the surface of a sculpture in clay - not by outline or flat areas, but with the ups and downs along the surface.

September 2004