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Richard Smith Biography

Richard Smith, CBE is an English painter and printmaker born in October 1931. His work spanned a range of styles, but he is most often linked with colour field painting. During his early years, Smith attended the St Albans School of Art and studied at the Royal College of Art from 1954 to 1957. A lot of Smith’s earlier work focused on themes of packaging and advertising which drew parallels from many critics to the Pop Art movement. He was a lecturer at Hammersmith College of Art from 1957 to 1958 and in 1959 moved to America where he spent many years painting and teaching, particularly in New York.

In 1963, Smith took a new approach to the two-dimensional nature of paintings and in his ‘Piano and Giftwrap’ piece, he extended the surface of this image into three-dimensional space. He continued to pioneer new approaches and in 1972 he first exhibited ‘kite paintings’ whereby instead of the canvas being stretched by traditional methods, cords of aluminium tubing were used instead, drawing more attention to its contour. Smith was selected as the British representative at the Venice Biennale in 1970 and in 1975 an exhibition of his work was displayed at the Tate Gallery in London.

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