Landscape near Lyons

Sir Matthew Smith (1879 - 1959)

Oil on canvas


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Image of Landscape near Lyons
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection
    The strangely lurid harmonies of rich reds, greens, purples and blacks give this landscape   a stormy, menacing, brooding quality. Made in 1922 on one of the artist’s frequent sojourns in France, the work is similar to the deep red coloured landscapes that Smith painted in Cornwall in 1920. Those works offer a window into the trauma of his experiences in the First World War, and the toll it took on his mental health. The rich burgundy-infused palette became a hallmark of Smiths’ work. He has been called a sensual colourist and was as attracted by the work of earlier painters such as Rubens and Delacroix as by the Post-Impressionists of the early twentieth century. He, in turn, was much admired by his younger contemporary Francis Bacon, who wrote in 1953: ‘I think that painting today is pure intuition and luck and taking advantage of what happens when you splash the stuff down, and in this game of chance Matthew Smith seems to have the gods on his side.’

  • About the artist
    Sir Matthew Smith studied art in Manchester and then at the Slade School in London before briefly attending Matisse’s school in Paris. He was severely wounded in the First World War, at the battle of Ypres. During the 1920s and early 1930s he divided his time between London and Paris. His first solo show was held in 1926, after which his reputation was assured. In 1933 Smith settled in Aix-en-Provence, where he was there at the outbreak of the Second World War. He lost two sons in action in the RAF and returned to London after the fall of France. He was knighted in 1954, four years before his death. A large bequest of his work was donated to the Barbican Art Gallery in London, which mounted a major retrospective in 1983.
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    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Landscape near Lyons
    Oil on canvas
    height: 47.00 cm, width: 54.00 cm
    Purchased from Waddington Galleries, September 1980
    none visible
    With Mayor Gallery; Michael Sadler; with Tooth Gallery (according to Matthew Smith exhibition catalogue 2010: 'Sir Michael Sadler; Mr. D.A. West; GAC')
    GAC number