Jeffrey Smart corresponds with fellow artist Margaret Olley about painting her for the Archibald Prize. As Margaret Olley poses for a photograph which will be the basis for Smart's portrait she asks the film crew whether they have seen the Arthur Boyd exhibition. She says playfully and provocatively 'I think the myth has gone before the man' and takes issue with him being billed as the greatest Australian painter. She says 'I tell you what - if you have to have Kings it'll be Lord Smart who'll be the next one. At least he's painting what's going on today'. We see Smart's study of Olley which he is going to transfer onto a bigger canvas.
Jeffrey Smart was born in Adelaide in 1921 and, like many of his contemporaries, went overseas to work. He began exhibiting regularly in 1957 and has held 25 solo exhibitions. His work is known for its stark industrial landscapes with lone figures. Producer Don Featherstone has made many documentaries about Australian artists. He is also the producer of Beautiful Lies, The Daylight Moon, An Imaginary Life and The Beach.
Australian artist Jeffrey Smart has been living in Italy since the 1970s. This documentary looks at his life in the 1990s. He reflects on his life as a painter and offers observations about his artistic work. The film features footage from his home in Italy and whimsical visits to local sites seen in his work.
Notes by Damien Parer