Sir Matthew Smith

Nude, Fitzroy Street, No. 1


Not on display

Sir Matthew Smith 1879–1959
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 870 × 765 × 20 mm
frame: 980 × 870 × 89 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1952

Display caption

This is among the most advanced in style of Smith's paintings. It is one of a pair showing a model in the same pose from two different points of view, painted in his studio in Fitzroy Street. 'Nude No.2', which belongs to the British Council, shows the model seen from the front, and has slightly more detail in the background. Soon after these were painted Smith, who had already joined the Artists' Rifles, was called to France with the army. After the war he painted little until his stay in Cornwall in 1920.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘MS’ b.r.
Canvas, 34×30 (86×76).
Chantrey Purchase from Mrs Dorothy Searle 1952.
Coll: Acquired from the artist by Arthur Tooth & Sons 1942, from whom purchased by A.J.L. McDonnell June 1945; Mrs Dorothy Searle, who purchased it from the Redfern Gallery October 1949.
Exh: Jacob Epstein and Matthew Smith, Temple Newsam, Leeds, July–September 1942 (90), as ‘Nude, Fitzroy Street, No.I’; Contemporary British Paintings, Tooth's, June–July 1945 (7), as ‘Fitzroy Square [sic], No.I’; C.A.S., The Private Collector, Tate Gallery, March–April 1950 (253); R.A., 1953 (448); Tate Gallery, September–October 1953 (7, repr. pl.5); R.A., October–December 1960 (29).
Lit: Hendy, 1944, pl.6; Rothenstein, 1952, p.233, repr. facing p.235; Hendy, Halliday and Russell, 1962, at pl.7, repr. (in colour).

This and ‘Nude, Fitzroy Street No.2’ (British Council) were painted in 1916 at the artist's studio, 2 Fitzroy Street, from the same model and are the most important works of this period. In them the artist uses bold outlines and broad strokes of strong complementary colours in a manner similar to that adopted by the French Fauve painters led by Derain and Matisse. ‘Nude, Fitzroy Street, No.I’ was rejected by the London Group in 1916.

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

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