Portrait of David Malouf

Jeffrey SMART: artist

On Display

About the work

Jeffrey Smart was one of Australia’s most important artists. Living in Italy from 1963 until his death, he is best known for his meticulously-crafted depictions of urban environments in which people are eerily absent. Even in his portraits, such as this one of the Australian writer David Malouf, the individual is isolated from their surroundings. Smart is not interested in exploring the inner psychological life of his subject through a close examination of their physical features. Instead he conveyed information symbolically about the subject. Here, the word ‘OVIDIO’ on the building alludes to Malouf’s recently published novel An Imaginary Life, based on the exile of the Roman poet Ovid. The orange pipe is representative of the act of creativity – inspiration drawn from the imagination passes through the writer’s hand and into the space the viewer inhabits.
Portrait of David Malouf
Artist/Maker and role
Jeffrey SMART: artist
oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
100.0 x 100.0 cm
103.0 x 103.0 x 3.0 cm (framed)
Credit line
Purchased 1983
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.