Sir Matthew Smith

Portrait of Augustus John

About this artwork

This is one of four portraits Smith made of John in October 1944, shortly after taking a break from painting due to depression. It was allegedly painted in less than an hour. Alluding to Smith's habit of painting flesh as if it had been flayed and soaked in blood, John jokingly referred to the painting as 'Another haemorrhage for Matthew; all the same he will be a portrait painter yet'. Augustus John also painted Smith, and when Smith was told that his painting was better, he remarked, 'Ah, but I had by far the more interesting subject!'

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    Sir Matthew SmithEnglish (1879 - 1959)
  • title:
    Portrait of Augustus John
  • date created:
    1944
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    102.30 x 77.00 cm (framed: 127.00 x 102.00 x 10.50 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1981
  • accession number:
    GMA 2324
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Sir Matthew Smith

Sir Matthew Smith