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Richard Smith began his career making gestural abstract paintings inspired by the work of American artists such as Willem de Kooning. Following a visit to New York in the early 1960s, he found a new source of imagery in the packaging and advertising of cigarettes.

In works such as this, the rectangular projecting form derives from the shape of the packet and the repeated circular motifs from the cigarettes tightly arrayed inside. In this way Smith established a form of abstract art that referred to sources in popular culture and the visual languages of the modern world.

April 2005