Jeffrey Smart – Master of Stillness – Samstag from 12 Oct – Preview

The Samstag Museum of Art and Carrick Hill, in partnership with TarraWarra Museum of Art, present Master of Stillness: Jeffrey Smart paintings 1940–2011, a definitive survey exhibition of over sixty paintings from one of Australia’s most important living painters: Jeffrey Smart. Master of Stillness is an extraordinary opportunity to experience the complete scope of works from this master artist, from the early years to his most iconic works on loan from all over Australia as well as overseas, assembled by curator Barry Pearce, Emeritus Curator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Jeffrey Smart’s work has been a part of Australian culture for more than half a century. The painter’s iconic urban landscapes have seeped into our national consciousness, and are among our most famous and beloved paintings. Smart is Australia’s master of the urban vision; seeing beauty in the landscapes of modernism, his works feature industrial wastelands and concrete streetscapes with precise attention to clean lines, composition and geometry.

Exhibition curator Barry Pearce said, ‘Jeffrey Smart created an entirely new vernacular of modern painting. He confronted a brave new universe of technology and architecture and declared that it was beautiful. He became its poet.’

This major exhibition gives due recognition to Smart’s exceptional achievements over a long life in art, and his exemplary contribution to Australian painting that continues today. Awarded the Order of Australia in 2001 for services to visual arts, Smart’s work is held by the National Gallery of Australia, all Australian State galleries, and internationally by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of South Australia.

Master of Stillness celebrates the artist’s special links to the University of South Australia as one of the South Australian School of Art’s most acclaimed alumni. Despite residing in Tuscany for over four decades, Smart’s visual language was formed in the grids of Adelaide, a city with a particular topography of long straight lines and vanishing points, couched by hills.

Master of Stillness draws on a large range of works from Smart’s oeuvre to illuminate the consistent artistic and technical qualities that animate his art, revealing the sustained vision that has deservedly grown his reputation over several decades. Carrick Hill, the home of Smart’s valued friends and arts patrons, the Haywards, presents a selection of archival material and the artist’s early work produced in Adelaide during the 1940s, while the Samstag Museum presents the masterpieces created by Smart in Sydney from 1951 and later in Italy where he still resides.

Samstag Museum Director Erica Green said, ‘Now is the perfect moment to survey Smart’s work and bring his vision home to Adelaide where it all started. For the first time it is possible to define his career from the beginning, not only as the most distinguished graduate of the South Australian School of Art, but also perhaps Australia’s most important living painter.’ Don’t miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the vision of Jeffrey Smart – from Adelaide to Tuscany, 1940 to 2011, an extraordinary body of work from a true master artist.

Master of Stillness: Jeffrey Smart paintings 1940–2011 opens Friday 12 October and continues until Friday 14 December 2012. Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday 11–5pm, Saturday and Sunday 2–5pm.

Exhibition entry is free. To coincide with the exhibition, a major publication on Jeffrey Smart will be published by Adelaide’s Wakefield Press.

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