Richard Smith

Getting to Know:

Richard Smith

27 October, 1931 - 15 April, 2016

Read More

Interested in Selling?

Request a valuation

Richard Smith CBE (27 October 1931 – 15 April 2016) was a renowned English painter and printmaker, born in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. Throughout his career, he explored various artistic styles, but he became particularly associated with colour field painting and Pop Art, leaving an indelible mark on the global art scene.

Smith's artistic genius transcended borders, enjoying immense commercial success and critical acclaim in both America and Britain during the vibrant 1960s and 1970s. In the early stages of his career, he masterfully merged the themes of abstraction and pop art, creating captivating works of art. As his artistry evolved, he garnered further recognition for pushing the boundaries of painting, venturing into three-dimensional realms. His sculptural shaped canvases, endowed with monumental presence, extended into the gallery space, captivating viewers. Over time, Smith's style became more minimal, often employing a single dominant color with subtle accents.

Smith's artistic journey began with his studies at the Luton School of Art, followed by his service in the Royal Air Force in Hong Kong. Subsequently, he pursued a master's program at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London. Notably, Smith was awarded a Harkness Fellowship, a prestigious honor that enabled him to relocate to New York. It was in New York that he held his inaugural solo show at the Green Gallery, marking the beginning of a momentous artistic career. In his thirties, Smith participated in groundbreaking exhibitions that defined his era, including "Place" at the ICA in 1959, "Situation" at RBA Galleries in 1960, and "Painting and Sculpture of a Decade" at Tate in 1964. His retrospective exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1966 further solidified his reputation. Notably, Smith was awarded the Grand Prize at the 9th São Paulo Biennial in 1967 and participated in Documenta IV in Kassel in 1968. He also represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1966 and held a solo exhibition there in 1970. In recognition of his contributions to the arts, Smith was honored with the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1971. A momentous retrospective titled "Seven Exhibitions 1961-75" was held at Tate in 1975, further cementing his artistic legacy. His works have been exhibited at prestigious institutions such as Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Cyprus; Hendendaagse Kunst Museum, Utrecht; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Kettle's Yard, Cambridge; and the Jewish Museum, New York.

In 2014, art historian Marco Livingstone aptly described Smith's art as a "joyful embrace of glamour and prismatic color," which emerged during a period of post-war austerity, thus securing his place within the inception of Pop Art and its early history.

Today, Richard Smith's remarkable artworks reside in esteemed collections worldwide, including the Arts Council England; The British Museum, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MIT, Boston; Philadelphia Museum, among many others. The enduring legacy of Richard Smith's art continues to captivate art enthusiasts and exemplifies his profound impact on the art world.

Recent Highlights From Richard Smith

Newsletter Signup

Keyword Alerts