DETAIL : Roy DE MAISTRE 1894�1968 'Forest landscape' [Gum trees] c1920  oil on cardboard NGA 1971.44
Guy GREY-SMITH | Perth from Kings Park

Australia 1916 – Australia 1981
England 1939-47, 1952-54
Perth from Kings Park 1949
oil on canvas
50.5 (h) x 65.6 (w) cm
Framed 64.4 (h) x 79.0 (w) x 3.2 (d) cm
Gift of the artist's son Mark Grey-Smith 1991
NGA 1991.424
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… all my paintings are derived directly, really directly from nature, they are realistic in so far as they have a truth to me, if it is only a truth of feeling, not visual truth, but a truth of feeling.
Guy Grey-Smith 1965 1

In Perth from Kings Park we peer through gum trees and across the Swan River to the city of Perth. When this work was painted in 1949 Perth had a population of 296000 – a small city that rapidly expanded after a growth in migration at the end of the Second World War. Guy Grey-Smith also returned to Perth after the war, during which he had served in the Royal Air Force and had been interred in a German prisoner-of-war camp. It was during wartime that Grey-Smith began sketching and making watercolours. He later studied at the Chelsea School of Art in London before returning to Australia in 1948.

Grey-Smith determinedly championed artistic and cultural activities in Perth. He worked as a painter, printmaker and potter and it was in the landscape of Western Australia that he found his greatest inspiration, seeking out its rejuvenating, spiritual qualities. Perth from Kings Park is a kaleidoscopic view of colour and light, with prisms and planes intersecting to shape the scene. Searching for his own visual language, Grey-Smith used colour to explore spiritual states and reduced form to the basic shapes of triangles, prisms, cubes and spheres.

1 Guy Grey-Smith, interview by Helen Grey-Smith, 29 May 1965, National Library of Australia, Canberra, p. 4.