Sir Matthew Smith Still Life c.1936

Artwork details

Artist
Sir Matthew Smith 1879–1959
Title
Still Life
Date c.1936
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 806 x 997 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Sir Matthew and Lady Smith 1943, in memory of A/Sq. Ldr F.M. Smith, killed on active service 1940, and Sq. Ldr C.D. Smith DFC, killed in air combat 1941
Reference
N05401
Not on display

Display caption

In the 1930s Smith lightened the colours of his painting. This was in contrast to the sometimes impenetrable reds and browns he had used earlier. This still life is based on the weird mauve colour of the anemone flowers in the basket at the left. In some places the paint is thin, so that the white ground shines through as in a watercolour. The design is like a still life by Cézanne, but Smith's fluid brushstrokes suggest the liveliness of the fruit.

This is one of Smith's largest still lifes. He and his wife chose it to present to the Tate Gallery during the war, as a memorial to their two sons, their only children, both killed while serving with the Royal Air Force.

September 2004

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