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Jeffrey Smart
constructed world

Jeffrey Smart Truck and trailer approaching a city 1973 (detail), Art Gallery of New South Wales © Estate of Jeffrey Smart

A display of the Gallery’s leading collection of works by Jeffrey Smart including recent acquisitions

Jeffrey Smart’s vision of the urban landscape formed one of the most distinctive bodies of work in late 20th-century Australian art. A geometry of concrete wastelands, jewel-toned apartment blocks and reflective road signs became the subjects of Smart’s precisely rendered paintings and drawings. In a career that spanned seven decades, he forged an idiosyncratic realist style, capturing the stillness and beauty of the industrialised world with metaphysical nuance and a refined clarity of vision.

The Art Gallery of NSW holds the largest public collection of Smart’s works, recently bolstered by a major gift of 27 drawings from his estate. Selected highlights of this new acquisition will be exhibited for the first time at the Gallery alongside celebrated paintings from the collection.

The exhibition reflects different stages and places of Smart’s career, from his early years in Adelaide; through the 1950s and early 1960s in Sydney; to his later years in Italy where he produced masterpieces such as Truck and trailer approaching a city 1973 and Portrait of Clive James 1991—92.