ISMAEL SMITH (1886-1972)

Barcelona, Paris, New York

11 October, 2018 - 31 January, 2019

Monographic exhibition dedicated to the versatile Catalan artist Ismael Smith i Marí (Barcelona, ​​1886 – White Plains, New York, 1972). Draftsman, illustrator, engraver, decorator, sculptor and painter, considered by the critic Eugenio d’Ors as one of the young promises of the Noucentista movement in the first decade of the twentieth century. His work is between Franco-Belgian Art Nouveau with influences from the English Aubrey Beardsley, and develops into an expressionism of marked sexual ambiguity and unique personality. Formed in Barcelona, ​​he obtained a scholarship to travel to Paris where he began several decorative projects expanding culture and contacts. The outbreak of the First World War made him return to Barcelona but soon lost the prominence with the sunrise of Noucentisme. In 1919 the dandy Smith began a new stage in the United States and, despite trying in vain a triumphant return to Barcelona in 1929, remained in New York until his last days.

The present exhibition, produced in collaboration with Clavell & Morgades Antiguitats, gathers more than a hundred works, many of them unpublished: from drawings and satirical illustrations, to sculptures in plaster and bronze, as well as ex-libris and engravings that the artist transformed in unique works experimenting with all kinds of techniques. There are space for critical pieces, unrealized projects, folkloric and bullfighting themes, nudes, portraits, mythological and religious works, which show the diversity of Smith’s searchings. The exhibition is accompanied by a complete catalogue curated by the specialist Josep Casamartina, and includes works from the antique Folch and Torres collections, as well as Enrique García-Herraiz, the artist’s last executor.