Rediscovering Stan Smith – a major new exhibition

Following last year’s sell-out exhibition of Stan Smith’s watercolours at the Chelsea Arts Club we are pleased to announce a new exhibition featuring his oil paintings at Hilton Fine Art’s gallery in Bath.

The show includes several major works that have recently come to light, including a life-size figure study that dominated the Royal Academy summer exhibition 30 years ago.


With nine children by four different mothers, clothes and shoes with gaping holes, old jalopies for cars not to mention a fondness for whiskey and red wine, among many other things, Stan Smith lived the popular notion of the bohemian artist. But beneath that rackety exterior was a teacher with a serious track record and a lifetime of teaching, ending up as Principal of the Ruskin School of Drawing. He also exhibited at the RA every year from 1964 to 2000, and was President of the London Group, revealing him, in short, as a painter of very serious intent. It was quite an achievement for a working-class boy from Hull, but this was that marvellous post-war moment when the art schools became an absolute powerhouse of almost revolutionary egalitarian creativity. The human figure, the female nude in particular, was very much Smith’s central preoccupation – he painted them in bedrooms, in gardens, in woodland, in rivers –the bold slashing brush strokes and brilliant colour always firmly underpinned by the most rigorous of drawing techniques.  He could draw like a dream and also painted a series of rather quieter, acutely observed landscapes in the 60s and 70s. The show at Hilton Fine Art in Bath (from 19 April) has examples of them all.

Nicholas Usherwood  Galleries April 2015