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Australian art

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Keswick siding



Jeffrey Smart

Italy, Australia

26 Jul 1921 - 20 Jun 2013


When I was very young, I had seen Keswick siding many times from the suburban train between Unley Park and Adelaide. Eventually I decided to do something about it, but it was difficult. The siding was on railway property, so I had to get off at Keswick station and climb down from the platform with my easel and gear and camera, and walk along the tracks with trains rushing past. Once work is started there is always the possibility of an officious railway worker ordering you off the site.
Jeffrey Smart, 1996

Keswick siding declares Smart's early fascination for urban industrial landscapes and transport systems and witnesses the emergence of pictorial elements that have persisted throughout his career. It reflects his absorption of old master painting techniques from teachers at the South Australian School of Art, Marie Tuck (pupil of Rupert Bunny) and Ivor Hele. However, it is also an example of the painterly impasto approach that preceded his shift in technique to the 'eggshell' finish characteristic of his mature style.


Place where the work was made

Keswick Adelaide South Australia Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on jute canvas


62.0 x 72.1 cm stretcher; 78.0 x 88.5 x 6.7 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, brown oil "JEFF SMART 45".


Gift of Charles B Moses 1982


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Jeffrey Smart

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 9 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 12 publications


Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Barry Pearce and Ursula Prunster, Jeffrey Smart - A review exhibition, Sydney, 1982, 2 (illus.), 5. 6

Edmund Capon AM, OBE, I blame Duchamp: my life's adventures in art, 'Jefrrey Smart: a man of great composure', pg. 179-190, Sydney, 2009, 185, 193.

Edmund Capon, Jeffrey Smart retrospective, 'Still, Silent, Composed', pg. 12-21, Sydney, 1999, 16, 21, 27 (colour illus.), 28, 69 (colour illus.), 202. 4. The image on pg. 26 is in detail.

Edmund Capon, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'John Brack / Jeffrey Smart', pg. 116-127, Sydney, 2002, 122 (colour illus.), 123, 124, 146, 147.

Gavin Fry, Paint on the tracks: Australian artists and the railway, 'Introduction', pg. 7-10, Sydney, 1994, 8, 22, 23 (illus.), 50. 35

Bruce James, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Getting Smart', pg. 14, Sydney, 04 Sep 1999, 14s. This article appears in the Spectrum section of the newspaper.

Barry Pearce, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Jeffrey Smart', pg. 172-183, Sydney, 2000, 174 (colour illus.), 179.

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The enduring image', pg. 265-266, Sydney, 2000, 271 (colour illus.), 302.

Barry Pearce and Patrick McCaughey, Twentieth century Australian masterworks from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Fred Williams Pilbara Series, Tokyo, 1985, 44 (colour illus.). 25

Barry Pearce, Master of stillness: Jeffrey Smart paintings 1940–2011, 'Search for the timeless', pg. 7-21, Kent Town, 2012, 10, 31 (colour illus.), 125. 13

Barry Pearce, Jeffrey Smart, 'Art and life in South Australia', pg. 24-69, Sydney, 2005, 30 (colour illus.), 45, 47, 51.

Peter Quartermaine, Jeffrey Smart, South Yarra, 1983, 56 (colour illus.), 100. 71