Jeffrey Smart

Jeffrey Smart
The flea market, Rome

Creation date: 1966

Music composed by James Rushford

This painting brings together imagery that is mundane in the real world but takes on an uncanny and dramatic presence on the canvas. A woman dressed in black presides over an array of chairs in a random scatter. Occasionally spot-lit like an actor in a play, each chair has its own distinct character. Similarly, the female figure is like a character in a film and recurs in many of Smart’s paintings of this period, such as Spring landscape and Piraeus II. These paintings draw on the atmosphere of the Italian cinema Smart admired, including the Italian film director Vittorio De Sica’s neo-realist film Bicycle thieves (1948)

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