Jeffrey Smart 1921-2013: Recondita Armonia – Strange Harmonies of Contrast is curated by writer and Smart’s long-time friend David Malouf. The exhibition draws on private and public collections across Australia including the University of Sydney’s extensive collection.
Recondita Armonia includes rarely seen paintings including Smart’s final work, Labyrinth, which rejects the hard-edged lines that became a hallmark of his work and returns to the softer brush strokes of his earlier years.
Labyrinth bookends the exhibition with two paintings from 1947, when Smart was in his 20s and still Australia-based, but Recondita Armonia is centred on the period between 1967 and1987.
Malouf – who befriended Smart while living in Tuscany in 1978 – believes this to be Smart’s richest and most inventive period.
“As early as Cahill Expressway (1962) he discovers the poetry of highways,” says Malouf.
“But it is when he settles in Italy the following year that the landscape of passage and destination emerges as a preoccupation that will make the world Smart works in uniquely his own.”
“When he goes to Italy he finds all the necessary objects and relationships to become the painter he wants to be.”
Malouf says he was interested in tracking the choices of an artist renowned for his self-criticism and who regularly destroyed his own work. Combining his friendship with Smart with a deep interest in the visual arts, Malouf has created a memorial exhibition that is a must-see for any Smart fan.
Jeffrey Smart 1921-2013: Recondita Armonia – Strange Harmonies of Contrast
University Art Gallery – University of Sydney
Exhibition: 2 November 2013 – 7 March 2014.
For more information and opening times, visit: www.sydney.edu.au/museums for details.
Image: Jeffrey Smart, Labyrinth, 2011