Historical information

This print was also titled Leaf Form and was held in the Collection of Mark and Sue Grey-Smith (the vendors) prior to auction.



Registration number
Item type
54.5000 cm
Height or length
38.5000 cm
Contextual Information

Guy Edward Grey-Smith (1916-1981), an artist, was born on January 7, 1916, in East Wagin, Western Australia. He was the second child of Francis Edward Grey-Smith, a station manager, and Ada Janet (née King), who were originally from Victoria. His great-grandfather was Francis Grey Smith. Guy received his education at Boyup Brook State School and Bunbury High School. He enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on January 20, 1936, and underwent pilot training. The following year, he obtained a short-service commission in the Royal Air Force and relocated to England. On October 19, 1939, he married Helen Dorothy Stanes at the parish church in Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire. With the onset of World War II, he served in France with No.139 Squadron. In May 1940, his Blenheim bomber was shot down over enemy territory, resulting in severe injuries. During his time as a prisoner of war in Germany, he began sketching, which sparked his interest in painting. He was later transferred to Britain in a prisoner exchange in 1944 and received treatment for tuberculosis at Midhurst Sanatorium in Sussex, where he participated in an art therapy program.

From 1945 to 1947, Grey-Smith studied at the Chelsea School of Art under renowned artists Ceri Richards, Henry Moore, and Robert Medley. He also attended a part-time pottery course with Heber Mathews at Woolwich Art School. Due to his medical condition, he resigned from his RAF commission on April 22, 1947. The following year, he returned to Western Australia. In 1950, he renovated a house and constructed a studio in Darlington, near Perth. He established a home pottery and practiced slip-decorated earthenware, leading a self-sufficient lifestyle with his family.

In 1952, Laurie Thomas, the director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, supported Grey-Smith’s work and that of his wife, who was also an artist and printmaker. Following a recovery from tuberculosis, Grey-Smith took his family back to England in 1953. He furthered his artistic education by studying fresco painting at the Central School of Art and Design in London and was inspired by Fauve painters during an exhibition in Paris. Upon returning to Perth in 1954, he worked part-time at Perth Technical College and the AGWA, while also initiating art therapy classes.

Grey-Smith's art was heavily influenced by Paul Cézanne, portraying emotive Western Australian landscapes with bold colors. He gained national recognition through successful exhibitions across Australia in the 1950s and participated in international exhibitions. Throughout his career, he won numerous Australian art prizes and served as a part-time teacher at the Western Australian Institute of Technology. He also lectured in painting, drawing, and ceramics at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh in 1971.

As a founding president of the Western Australian branch of the Contemporary Art Society of Australia, Grey-Smith contributed significantly to the local art scene. He was known for his hospitality, organizing events like the Darlington Arts Festival to support local artists and the community. In his later years, he resided in Pemberton, where he enjoyed flying his own aircraft. He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1981. Grey-Smith passed away on August 11, 1981, leaving behind a legacy of artistic excellence. His works are held in various public and private collections in Australia, Britain, and the United States.

Place made
Western Australia
Primary significance criteria
Artistic or aesthetic significance
Historic significance
Comparative significance criteria
Interpretive capacity
Object’s condition or completeness
Well provenanced
City of Fremantle Art Collection

City of Fremantle Art Collection

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Screenprint showing bright red and blue background with black and yellow abstract leaves

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