Date of birth
Place of birth
Date of death
Place of death
Arezzo, Italy

Adelaide-born Jeffrey Smart is one of Australia’s most celebrated internationally renowned twentieth-century artists, known for his transformation of the mundane into the extraordinary. His carefully arranged and precisely recorded paintings are instantly recognisable and often bring into focus the lines, forms and colours of the modern world.

While the artist lived permanently in Italy from 1963 (initially in Rome and later Arezzo, Tuscany), he remained indebted to his formative training in Adelaide. He first studied art at the Adelaide Teacher’s College and the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts (1939–41), where he received tuition from Marie Tuck and Ivor Hele. Smart’s visit to the studio of Adelaide modernist Dorrit Black in 1941 was particularly influential. Black’s teaching of how to compose a scene based on the mathematical principles of the golden mean, gave Smart’s distinctive painting style a defining sense of geometry and unity.

Since his first solo exhibition in 1944, Smart received considerable and critical success throughout his long career. His work has been curated in many national surveys, including the influential international exhibitions Recent Australian Painting at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, 1961, and Australian Painting: Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary in London’s Tate Gallery, 1963. Following his death in 2013, the retrospective exhibition Master of Stillness: Jeffrey Smart Paintings 1940-2011 was exhibited concurrently at Carrick Hill and the Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide. To celebrate the centenary of the artist’s birth, the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, is staging a major retrospective, opening 11 December 2021.

Smart’s work is held in all major collections in Australia as well as in the international collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Switzerland, and the Yale University Art Gallery, Connecticut.


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