Jori Smith

Portugal, November 1965,

oil on board
5.5 x 4.5 in


Provenance :
Kastel Gallery, Montreal.

Jori Smith was a painter, watercolourist, draughtswoman and muralist, and a central figure in the Montreal art scene of the 1930s. A founding member of the Eastern Group of Painters and Contemporary Arts Society, Smith is best known for her portraits created while living in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. With an acute, compassionate eye, she captured character and mood in portraits that are remarkable for their lack of sentimentality, as well as their spontaneous execution. Smith also created nudes, still life and landscapes.
Marjorie Smith was fifteen years old in 1922 when she enrolled at the Art Association of Montreal, taking classes from Randolph Hewton. When the school closed three months later, she entered the École des Beaux-Arts, and over the course of five years there, garnered numerous prizes. She attended the Monument National concurrently and would later study with Edwin Holgate.
In 1934, Smith embarked with Palardy on the first of many trips to Europe, traveling to France, Spain and England, where she took an interest in contemporary British artists. On such trips abroad, she produced numerous landscapes in pen and ink, watercolour and oil. In 1937, she held her first solo exhibition at Toronto's Picture Loan Society; by then she was already signing her work Jori Smith. Two decades later, Smith withdrew from the exhibition scene following her separation from Palardy and spent increasing periods of time traveling. She re-emerged in 1976 and continued to paint every day, even in her nineties.
Smith was awarded the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Jessie Dow Prize (1955) and la Médaille de l'Assemblée nationale du Québec (2001). She was a member of the Order of Canada (2002).
National Gallery of Canada