Richard Smith



Richard Smith 1931–2016
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1520 x 1221 mm
frame: 1538 x 1232 x 40 mm
Purchased 1972

Not on display

Display caption

This is the earliest painting in this display. Although it was completed in 1959, it was mostly painted in 1958 and was therefore commenced before his first visit to New York. Of all the works in this room, this is the most abstract. It has no recognisable subject and Smtih's main concerns appear to be colour and emphatic brushwork. These concerns are a link with the American gestural abstract painting he experienced at first hand in New York in 1959.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

Richard Smith b.1931

T01588 Painting 1958

Inscribed ‘R. Smith 59’(?) on top canvas turnover on reverse and ‘SMITH 59/PAINTING JAN59/125 GNS’ in centre of back of canvas.
Canvas,60 x 47¾(152.4 x 121.3).
Purchased from Mrs Doris Smith (Grant-in-Aid) 1973.
Coll:Mrs Doris Smith, mother of the artist.

The notes on T01588, T01807 and T10808 are based on a conversation with the artist (5 March 1974).Although ‘Painting1958’ is inscribed twice with the date1959Smith believes that the picture, because of its style and similarity to ‘Rainbow’ 1958 and ‘Somewhere Over’ 1958,was painted the same year, although finishing touches may have been added in January 1959.He told the compiler that he cannot remember ever exhibiting it despite the inscription‘125Gns’.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974, London 1975.