Important Australian + International Fine Art
29 August 2007


born 1921

oil on canvas

73.0 x 92.0 cm

signed lower left: JEFFREY SMART

$180,000 - 240,000
Sold for $216,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 2 - 29 August 2007, Melbourne

Sotheby's, Sydney, 16 August 1999, lot 54
Private collection, Sydney
Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner, private collection, Melbourne


Jeffrey Smart, Redfern Gallery, London, 7 February - 4 March 1967, cat. no. 18
Recent Paintings by Jeffrey Smart, Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 31 May - 12 June 1967, cat. no. 13
Jeffrey Smart, South Yarra Gallery, Melbourne, 21 May - 3 June 1968, cat. no. 21


Quartermaine, P., Jeffrey Smart, Melbourne, 1983, cat. no. 467, p. 109

Catalogue text

Jeffrey Smart is the master of the frozen moment, like stills from a movie, full of what took place before and redolent about what is to come. Although his subjects are invariably about modern means associated with movement - of trucks, autobahns, and skaters - they are motionless in time. Children Skating in a Garage, 1966-7, is a classic example, the boy and the girl momentarily transfixed, the imbalance of their postures relating to their action on roller skates, contrasted with the solid, immovable columns. Colour is utilised to support their difference, the red and blue of the clothing as lively accents against the grey of the columns, themselves a touch enlivened by the blue and angular stripes. Smart has a penchant for stripes, as seen in his ubiquitous road signs. The setting is likewise characteristically Smart - under something. From The Cahill Expressway, 1962, (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), to Supermarket Car Park II, 2004 (private collection), overpasses and undergrounds appeal to Smart and feature in many of his best paintings. There are underground car parks in Florence, Adelaide, or at the airport in Pisa, even the Rome Metro is a subterranean view. Cars and figures add colour and dimension. His compositions are brilliantly conceived and executed, using balance and placement to great effect. Perhaps no one can equal him in the use of the visual rhetorical device of repeated forms, of columns, containers, apartments and the like. The repetition of the columns in Children Skating in a Garage, found in many a related work, or translated into rectangular verticals and horizontals in The Underground Car Park, 1993 (private collection), are not only visually striking, but also evoke the senses in a manner parallel to the powerfully deep base notes of an organ, enveloping space with its rolling sound. While the human figure plays a secondary role in Smart's art, it is nevertheless a very significant one in addition to its compositional importance. The genesis of our skaters is found in Hide and Seek, a 1962 painting in the collection of the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Here a girl and probably a boy play their game in an underground forest of concrete piers. Referring to the pencil study for the painting, Smart said: 'This theme has always intrigued me and I have returned to it in 2001.'1 Our skaters are a further link, as is Morning Jogger in Parking Garage, Adelaide 1987, a bright yellow accent and quizzical look at the viewer. Children Skating in a Garage was included in Smart's first London exhibition, held at the Redfern Gallery in early 1967.

1. Smart, J., (et al.), Jeffrey Smart Drawings and Studies 1942-2001, Australian Galleries, Melbourne, 2001, p.64