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Joshua Smith

1905 – 1995

Joshua Smith studied sculpture with Rayner Hoff and took classes in drawing and painting at Julian Ashton's Sydney Art School. During the war, Smith worked in a camouflage unit with fellow artist William Dobell. In January 1944 Dobell's portrait of Smith was awarded the Archibald Prize for 1943. A law case ensued, with the artist complainants alleging that Dobell's work was a caricature of his friend. The court found that it was a good likeness. The trial was inevitably distracting, embarrassing and debilitating for Dobell and Smith, but the following year Smith rallied to win the Archibald himself, for a portrait of HS Rosevear. Dobell's portrait of Smith was badly damaged in a fire in 1958, but it has since been restored. Smith painted several memorable portraits, including one of Dame Mary Gilmore and a haunting study of his parents acquired by the Art Gallery of NSW in 1943. He was a regular exhibitor in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes for many years.

Updated 2018