Sir Matthew Smith

Model Turning


Not on display

Sir Matthew Smith 1879–1959
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 648 × 806 mm
frame: 850 × 1020 × 85
Purchased 1936

Display caption

The paintings of the nude made by Smith in the winter of 1923-4 in Paris were a breakthrough to a new facility with colour. The use of such a harmony is French in style, and Smith was one of very few British artists to paint in this way.

Here the dark skinned model is dressed only in a red skirt, pulled up above her knees, and lies on a couch on blue and mauve cushions. The black background and absence of light give a feeling of enclosure, cutting out anything but the confrontation with the nude, made dramatic by the vigorous brushstrokes and unstable pose. The body is 'modelled' in colour, like the surface of a sculpture in clay - not by outline or flat areas, but with the ups and downs along the surface.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

N04852 MODEL TURNING c. 1924

Inscr. ‘MS’ t.l.
Canvas, 25 1/2×31 3/4 (65×81).
Purchased from the artist through Arthur Tooth & Sons (Clarke Fund) 1936.
Exh: Tooth's, October–November 1929 (16); Pictures for Collectors, Tooth's, January 1932 (29); Tooth's, November 1936 (13), as ‘Nude’; Tate Gallery, September–October 1953 (23), and Arts Council tour, November 1953–February 1954 (15).
Repr: John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery, 1962, p.257.

Painted in Paris c. 1924.

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

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