CHILD WALKING WITH CHECK TABLECLOTH 1953
Jack Smith (1928 – 2011)
- 153 X 122 CM
- OIL ON BOARD
- Accession number
In the 1950s Smith was a leading figure in what the critic David Sylvester dubbed – thinking particularly of Smith’s paintings – the Kitchen Sink School. The label implied something more than realistic art, pointing to the emphatically unglamorous realities of everyday life. In fact, the work done by this so-called school varied both in style and in preferred subject matter. In Smith’s case he used drab colours with strong tonal contrasts, and dramatic silhouettes and alarming foreshortenings for his apparent charmless scenes. There is a tradition of working class realism in North European art from at least the 17th century, some done for moralising purposes, some to amuse wealthy art patrons. In this picture there is no sense of social distance. Rather he engages with it totally, without prejudice, valuing the vividness of every part of the subject, most of all the intense life of the little child, eagerly taking its first steps over the kitchen floor.
Picturing People British figurative art since 1945, The British Council 1989