[Jeff Smart ‘Self-Portrait at Papini’s’ (1984-85) oil & polymer on canvas 85x115cm]
Having always enjoyed this work by Smart, I was reminded of it whilst walking past the back-door of a local milk bar. Likewise, when I saw this ‘Random Acts of Gentle Anarchy‘ in Hosier Lane some time ago.
Jeff Smart (Full name: Frank Jeffrey Edson Smart), was born in Adelaide on 26 July 1921. An expatriate Australian painter, he is known for his precisionist depictions of urban landscapes that are ‘full of private jokes and playful allusions’. Self-Portrait at Papini’s was partly based on a photo of the artist standing in front of Papini’s workshop in Pieve a Presciano, in Tuscany. Papini was the owner of the petrol service station. Smart lived in Tuscany for 40 years until his death from renal failure in Arezzo, on 20 June 2013, aged 91.
- This mid-career painting set an auction record for Smart when it sold in 2014 at Deutscher and Hackett’s Fine Art Auction in Sydney for $1.28 million. It is one of only 3 known self-portraits by Smart and considered the most substantial.
- It was the first time the painting had come on the market since 1986 when it was bought by a Melbourne collector from Smart’s Melbourne and Sydney gallery, Australian Galleries.
- It appeared at the Master of Stillness: Jeffery Smart Paintings 1940-2011 at the Tarrawarra Museum of Art in Victoria.
“Is It Art?”