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Truck and trailer approaching a city



Jeffrey Smart

Italy, Australia

26 Jul 1921 - 20 Jun 2013


'Truck and trailer approaching a city' presents a frozen moment, in which Jeffrey Smart’s use of space, scale, colour and form evokes a sense of alienation.

'The painting is in two squares. I wanted to see if I could bring off a satisfactory composition which had a line down the centre, dividing it into two equal parts ... This is the first painting in which the apartment houses have that really impersonal quality I see in them ... I have been able to give them the grid look, amazingly similar to the pattern of memory cells in a computer. The sky is painted mainly with raw umber and mauve – with so much red, a neutral area was absolutely necessary.'

Jeffrey Smart, 1999




Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on canvas


75.0 x 150.4 cm stretcher; 90.0 x 164.5 x 8.8 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner, blue and black synthetic polymer paint "JEFFREY SMART". Not dated.


Purchased under the terms of the Florence Turner Blake Bequest 1980

Accession number


Artist information

Jeffrey Smart

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 8 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 22 publications


Christopher Allen, The Weekend Australian, 'Hard work: A new show reminds us of the limitations of colour-field abstraction', pg. 12-13, Canberra, 17 Oct 2009-18 Oct 2009, 13. Focus room 'Tackling the field' exhibition review.

Edmund Capon, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'John Brack / Jeffrey Smart', pg. 116-127, Sydney, 2002, 121 (colour illus.), 146, 147.

Deborah Edwards, Two centuries of Australian painting: a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 8-14, Sydney, 1986, 48 (illus.). 57

Chris Gibson and John Connell, Sydney: the emergence of a world city, 'Artistic dreamings: tinseltown, sin city and suburban wasteland', pg. 292-318, South Melbourne, 2000, 315 (illus.). 14.7

Sasha Grishin, Australian art: a history, 'Postmodern and postcolonial Australia', pg. 492-501, Carlton, 2013, 492 (colour illus., detail), 496 (colour illus.), 553, 568. plate no. 45.3

Elwyn Lynn, Modern Australian Painting, 1970/1975, 'Introduction', pg. 7-11, Unknown, 1976, 75 (colour illus.). plate no. 106

Barry Pearce, Look, 'Parallel Visions: a study of fellow spirits in Australian art', pg. 8-9, Melbourne, Feb 2002, 9 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Master of stillness: Jeffrey Smart paintings 1940–2011, 'Search for the timeless', pg. 7-21, Kent Town, 2012, 16 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Jeffrey Smart', pg. 172-183, Sydney, 2000, 179 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The enduring image', pg. 265-266, Sydney, 2000, front cover (colour illus., detail), 272 (colour illus.), 302.

Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 33.

Barry Pearce, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Australian Art', pg. 5-26, Sydney, 1981, 22 (colour illus.). 36

Jill Sykes, Look, 'Barry Pearce's next book-call it "segueing with intent"', pg. 28-29, Sydney, Mar 2012, 28, 29 (colour illus.).

Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian 20th Century Art', pg. 71-89, Sydney, 1984, 89 (colour illus.).

Jeffrey Smart, South Yarra, 1983, 113. 629

The Artist & the City, Sydney, 1983, cover (colour illus.), 3, 14. 30

Jeffrey Smart - A review exhibition, Sydney, 1982, cover (colour illus.), 1, 7. 36

Art in the sun, 'Jeffrey Smart b.1921', pg. 48, Brookvale, 2000, 48 (colour illus.).

Modern Australian painting, 1950/1975, Adelaide, 1980, 189 (colour illus.).

Jeffrey Smart, 'Art, love and gestation in Sydney', pg. 92-137, Sydney, 2005, 120-121 (colour illus., detail), 122, 123 (colour illus.), 170, 178, 254.

Jeffrey Smart retrospective, 'Posticcia Nuova 1971-99', pg. 129-185, Sydney, 1999, 136 (colour illus.), 137 (colour illus.), 208. 45. The image appearing on pg. 136 is in detail.

Jeffrey Smart: drawings and studies 1942-2001, Sydney, 2001, 93 (colour illus.). figure no. 17; 108 is a study for this painting