Born on 22 October 1879, Matthew Smith, was interested in painting and drawing from an early age and studied art at Manchester College of Technology (1901-1905) and the Slade School of Fine Art in London (1905-1908) - without, however, showing particular promise. He moved to France late in 1908, and in Etaples and Pont-Aven painted still-lifes and portraits that are Intimist in manner, showing attention to local color and modeling. After spending an extensive period in Paris, painting and exhibiting in the Salon he joined the London Group in 1920 after a long illness, and then spent the autumn and winter of 1920 in the village of St Columb Major in Cornwall. Between the wars he spent long periods in France and in Cornwall, later in the 1930s returning to London.
Smith applied dark saturated color and an increasing fluidity of construction to a series of Cornish landscapes, strongly Expressionist in character, the culmination of an earlier style. Smith was knighted in 1954, and died on 29 September 1959.
works and access
Works include: Portrait of a Young Boy (1908); Fruit in a Dish (1915); Nude, Fitzroy Street, No 1 (1916); Apples (1920); Cyclamen (1920); Cornish Church (1920); Winter Landscape, Cornwall (1920); Model Turning (1924); Woman Reclining (1926); Peonies (1928); Still Life (1936); Peaches (1937); Still Life with Clay Figure I (1939); The Young Actress (1943, the actress being the artist's niece; nearly all Smith's portraits were of friends and family); Still-life with a Pitcher II (1954)
London; twice represented at the Venice Biennale 1938, 1950
The London Group
Cork, R (1989) 'The Visual Arts' [in] B Ford (ed) The Edwardian Age and the Inter-War Years, Vol 8 Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain.
J Gledhill (2009) Matthew Smith: Catalogue Raisonne of the Oil Paintings