Smith studied at the Royal College of Art in 1954-7. In 1959 he won an award to study in America for two years and 'Panatella' was painted in New York. In terms of its large scale, abstract shapes and vigorous brushwork, 'Panatella' demonstrates connections with American painting of the time. However, Smith's interest in mass media and consumer culture is evident in the way that the image is based on a cigar band. Also, as Smith noted, 'the colour is rather tobacco and gold.' One of Smith's concerns was to make connections between 'high' art and popular culture. In this respect 'Panatella' forms a link between abstract painting and Pop art.