An image of La chemise jaune

Sir Matthew Smith

(England 22 Oct 1879 – 29 Sep 1959)

La chemise jaune

Not on display
Further information

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.

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
Accession number
© Estate of Sir Matthew Smith
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