Jack Smith

Mother Bathing Child

1953

Medium
Oil paint on board
Dimensions
Support: 1829 x 1219 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1955
Reference
T00005

Display caption

This is one of a series of paintings of the same subject all done in 1953. The artist afterwards destroyed the others. It was this particular theme which prompted the label of 'Kitchen Sink' painting - a description disliked by the painters concerned. Smith has commented on his work of the 1950s 'The art of the 1940s in France and England didn't excite me. I reacted against its lack of creative energy. So like many artists before me I turned to my own environment for subject matter ... I wanted to make the ordinary miraculous. This had nothing to do with social comment. If I had lived in a palace I would have painted chandeliers'.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

T00005 MOTHER BATHING CHILD 1953

Inscr. ‘Jack Smith 53.’ b.r.
Oil on hardboard, 72×48 (183×122).
Purchased from the Beaux Arts Gallery (Kerr Fund) 1955.
Exh: Beaux Arts Gallery, June–July 1954 (5); London Group, November–December 1954 (319); A Selection from the London Group 1954, Cumberland House, Portsmouth, January–February 1955 (75), and Southampton, February–March 1955 (102).
Repr: Tate Gallery Report 1954–55, 1955, between pp.18 and 19.

Painted in 1953 as one of a series of this particular subject, it is, according to the artist (letter of 14 April 1955), the only one remaining; the rest were afterwards destroyed.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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