Jack Smith (1928 - 2011)

13 Elements on Grey ( Sound + Silence), 1970


SKU: 9686
Original woodblock, cancelled

Height – 107cm
Width – 107cm

1 in stock


The Artist’s Estate
Sunderland Arts Centre 1977 Jack Smith, Paintings and Drawings 1949-1976, illustrated page 80 

A letter from the artist to the previous owner, dated 05 august ’69, reads;

“Dear S and D, Thank you so much for sending me the photographs of my work you have, what I consider to be some very important paintings and it gave me great pleasure to see them again.

I hope that they will continue to fascinate and give you pleasure. Your choice is excellent.

Regarding ’13 ELEMENTS ON BLACK (SOUND + SILENCE)’ it is not acrylic board but Oil paint on black acrylic. I think that is important.The provenance is Lord Strauss as you say. He and his wife … …… of good work. As you know he was a very active politician.It has been a fascinating experience for me to see these works again and to know that they belong to people who have knowledge of art. With best wishes to you both, Jack Smith”

Of similar works from this period, now in the Tate collection: (Activities, Major and Minor (1972) and Sounds and Silences (1975) Smith commented: ‘I think of my paintings as diagrams of an experience of sensation. The subject is very important.
The sound of the subject, its noise or its silence, its intervals and its activity. When I talk about the sound or the music of the subject, I’m not always thinking in terms of a symphony, but groups of single notes. The closer the painting is to a diagram
or graph, the nearer it is to my intention. I like every mark to establish a fact in the most precise, economical way. I have been consistently interested in light; between 1952–6 as an outside source and since then as a quality within the painting. Light as
a subject no longer interests me, but it’s still essential that each painting contains it. This kind of remoteness I feel makes one more aware of certain aspects of a subject that cannot be visually explained without preconceived ideas getting in the way.
There is silence in the earlier paintings though that is not the subject. Later on, that silence became the subject’.

(Conversation with Jack Smith, 5 April 1978, and a letter of 27 May 1978, Tate Archive)

Similar works from this period are in the collection of

The Fitzwilliam:

The Tate:

The Arts Council:

Smiths work is also in the following collections: Arts Council; Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand; Berlin National Gallery; British Council; Cardiff Art Gallery, Contemporary Art Society; The City Art Gallery, Manchester; City Art Gallery, Plymouth; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield; Gothenburg Museum, Sweden; Government Art Collection; Guggenheim Museum New York; Leicester City Art Gallery; Manchester City Art Gallery; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Tate Gallery, London; The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; The Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Welsh Contemporary Art Society

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Jack Smith
1928 - 2011

Painter, born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, he studied at Sheffield College of Art, 1944-46, St. Martin’s School of Art, 1948-50, and RCA, 1950-53. His first solo exhibition was held at the Beaux Arts Gallery, 1953 and he also exhibited with the Young Contemporaries around this time. With John Bratby, Derrick Greaves and Edward Middleditch, he became associated with Kitchen Sink painting which took its subject matter from the texture and feel of everyday life. Though Smith was the one who actually painted a kitchen sink (and the child being bathed in it), he later more or less renounced his realist work and instead developed a non-figurative style. His solo exhibitions were numerous and include shows at Flowers East, London, Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Matthiesen Gallery, London, the Mayor Gallery, Grosvenor Gallery, Redfern Gallery, London, Fischer Fine Art, London and Marlborough Fine Art, London. As a group exhibitor, he showed at the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition, winning first prize in 1957 and exhibited five paintings in the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale during the previous year.

Smith taught at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, 1953-56 and his work is in major collections around the world including the ACGB, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand, Berlin National Gallery, Brighton & Hove Art Gallery, CAS, Ferens Art Gallery, Fitzwilliam Museum, GAC, Graves Art Gallery, Guggenheim Museum, New York, Leeds City Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Plymouth Art Gallery, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Tate Gallery, Towner Art Gallery and the WAC.

With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk


Jack Smith (1928 - 2011)
Painted Relief, 1962
Jack Smith (1928 - 2011)
13 Elements on Black ( Sound + Silence)
Jack Smith (1928 - 2011)
13 Elements on Grey ( Sound + Silence), 1970