Born 1919, Hove, Sussex. Died in Vancouver, Canada in 2020.
Smith initially received art training from his artist father and at Harrow County School for Boys. In 1933 with his mother and elder brother he emigrated to Canada where he enrolled at the Winnipeg School of Art; by 1938 he had embarked on a notable exhibiting career, becoming one of Canada’s most prolific and celebrated artists. In his long career his work embraced a wide range of subject matter and styles from impressionist studies inspired by landscape and seascape to gestural abstract non-figurative works and minimalist colourfield abstraction, the latter genre inspired by time he spent in the early 1950's at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco where he encountered the work of artists such as Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko.
Teaching was also an important part of his career; he was revered for his role as an influential educator at the Vancouver School of Art and the University of British Columbia. In 2002 with his wife Marion he established a foundation for the promotion of art enrichment opportunities for children.
National honours bestowed include Member of the Order of Canada in 1996, the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts in 2007 and In March 2009, at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Governor General's Award in the Visual and Media Arts.
Smith’s work is in many international public and private collections, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Musée National des Beaux Arts du Québec and the Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate Gallery in London.
Gordon Smith was painting, printmaking and exhibiting right up to his death at the age of 100.