We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


La chemise jaune



Matthew Smith


22 Oct 1879 – 29 Sep 1959

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    91.8 x 59.7 cm stretcher; 118.5 x 86.5 x 9.0 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r., black paint "MS". Not dated.

    Purchased 1953
    South Building, ground level, 20th-century galleries
    Accession number
    © Estate of Sir Matthew Smith

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Matthew Smith

    Works in the collection


  • About

    While many British painters in the early decades of the twentieth century were drawn to the subtlety of Cézanne's technique, Matthew Smith embraced the more dramatic devices of Gauguin and Matisse. Smith spent time in the latter's Paris studio in 1910, albeit without sighting the master, and developed a personal manner based on fauvist principles of pure colour, bold simplification of form and a marked sensuousness of application. 'La chemise jaune', named for the molten yellow slip modelled by the opulent Vera Cunningham, shows Smith's gift for the disposition of fiery hues across a broadly painted composition. Fauve painting is not the exclusive predecessor of the work. Smith was well aware of Delacroix's chromatic experiments almost a century earlier. Indeed, Vera is presented for inspection in the time-honoured guise of an odalisque, in this case in vulnerable repose. The artist produced many images of her, frequently nude. Her Rubenesque roundness recalls the many representations of fruit in the artist's 'oeuvre'.

    AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 6 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 8 publications

  • Provenance

    Mayor Gallery, 1926, London/England

    Eardley Knollys, circa 1942, England

    Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, 1951, London/England

    Hanover Gallery, London, 1953, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from the Hanover Gallery 1953

Other works by Matthew Smith