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 Gordon Appelbe Smith  (1919 - )

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Lived/Active: British Columbia / Canada/England      Known for: expressionist and geometric abstract painting, murals, sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
Blue Twist - 22" X 37.5" acrylic on canvas - signed (twice) and titled on back - circa 1970
Blue Twist - 22" X 37.5" acrylic on canvas - signed (twice) and titled on back - circa 1970
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:


Gordon  Smith is an expressionist and geometric abstract painter, muralist and sculptor who was born in Hove, England and has lived in Canada since 1933; first in Winnipeg, and since 1940 in Vancouver.  His mediums include oil, acrylic, watercolour, pencil, silkscreen, etching and mix mediums.  His subjects include landscape, cityscape and pure abstract.  As stated his styles are abstract expressionist, geometric abstract, cubist, realist and expressionist.

He studied at the Winnipeg School of Art, under Lemoine Fitzgerald, and the Vancouver School of Art, graduating in 1946.  He also taught at the Vancouver School of Art and was a Professor at the University of British Columbia from 1956 until his retirement (from teaching) in 1982.  His travels include, the USA, Europe, South America, Japan and Egypt.  It should also be noted he served in combat in World War II (1940 – 44) and still limps from wounds he received in Italy.

His first show was with the Manitoba Society of Artists in 1937; he has been showing his work almost continuously since then; including several one  man shows at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Greater Victoria Art Gallery and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  He has also shown at the Sao Paulo Biennial (1960), the Seattle World’s Fair (1962), and the Osaka World’s Fair (1970): and with the Ontario Society of Artists, the Canadian Group of Painters (president 1957 - 58) and the Royal Canadian Academy.  He is still very active (2009) creating and showing large (60” X 60” or larger) expressionist  paintings and installations inspired by scenery in West Vancouver, where he has lived since 1953.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, his works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, New Brunswick), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum (Charlottetown, P.E.I.), Dalhousie Art Gallery (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Doris McCarthy Gallery (University of Toronto, Ontario), Kamloops Art Gallery (B.C.), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), Maltwood Museum (University of Victoria, B.C.), McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton, Ontario), McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ontario), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Quebec), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Museum London (Ontario), Ottawa Art Gallery (Ontario), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Simon Fraser University Gallery (Burnaby, B.C.), Tate (London, England), Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery (Owen Sound, Ontario), Trent University Art Collection (Peterborough, Ontario), University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (Lethbridge, Alberta), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Alberta), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

His work is also in numerous corporate and private collections, and and his murals are in public spaces such as the Queen Elizabeth theatre (Vancouver) and Simon Fraser University (Burnaby B.C.).

His awards include First Prize at the Biennial of Canadian Art (1955), a senior fellowship from the Canada Council (1960), Honorary Doctorate from Simon Fraser University (1973), Professor Emeritus from the University of British Columbia (1983), Honorary Doctorate from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design (1995) and the Order of Canada (1996).

As one of Canada’s most prominent artists his work is discussed in most books on Canadian art history and Canadian modern art.  There are also dozens of magazine and Newspaper stories. In addition there is the book GORDON SMITH The Act of Painting (1997) by Ian M. Thom and Andrew Hunter, published by Douglas & McIntyre and The Vancouver Art Gallery  (161 pages, colour and black and white photos). He is also listed in Who's Who in American Art, 1982; A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald, published by Canadian Paperbacks Ltd.; and The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar, published by Westbridge Publications Ltd.

Prepared and submitted by M.D.Silverbrooke

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