Guy GREY-SMITH, Perth from Kings Park Enlarge 1 /1


Wagin, Western Australia, Australia 1916 – Pemberton, Western Australia, Australia 1981

  • England 1939-47, 1952-54

Perth from Kings Park 1949 Place made: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas

Dimensions: 50.5 h x 65.6 w framed (overall) 64.4 h x 79.0 w x 3.2 d cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of the artist's son Mark Grey-Smith 1991
Accession No: NGA 91.424

… all my paintings are derived directly, really directly from nature, they are realistic in so far as they have a truth to me, if it is only a truth of feeling, not visual truth, but a truth of feeling.
Guy Grey-Smith 1965 1

In Perth from Kings Park we peer through gum trees and across the Swan River to the city of Perth. When this work was painted in 1949 Perth had a population of 296000 – a small city that rapidly expanded after a growth in migration at the end of the Second World War. Guy Grey-Smith also returned to Perth after the war, during which he had served in the Royal Air Force and had been interred in a German prisoner-of-war camp. It was during wartime that Grey-Smith began sketching and making watercolours. He later studied at the Chelsea School of Art in London before returning to Australia in 1948.

Grey-Smith determinedly championed artistic and cultural activities in Perth. He worked as a painter, printmaker and potter and it was in the landscape of Western Australia that he found his greatest inspiration, seeking out its rejuvenating, spiritual qualities. Perth from Kings Park is a kaleidoscopic view of colour and light, with prisms and planes intersecting to shape the scene. Searching for his own visual language, Grey-Smith used colour to explore spiritual states and reduced form to the basic shapes of triangles, prisms, cubes and spheres.

1 Guy Grey-Smith, interview by Helen Grey-Smith, 29 May 1965, National Library of Australia, Canberra, p. 4.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra