6 June 2008
Sir Matthew Smith (1879-1959)
Nude with mauve drapery
oil on canvas
24 x 32 in. (61 x 81.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1931.
with Lefevre Gallery, London, circa 1947.
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
Exhibition catalogue, Homage to Matthew Smith 1879-1959, London, Arthur Tooth & Sons, 1960, no. 2, illustrated.
London, Arthur Tooth & Sons, Homage to Matthew Smith 1879-1959, February - March 1960, no. 2.
Painted in Smith's Paris studio at 10 Passage Noirot, the present work probably shows Sunita Peerboy in one of her colourful saris. Malcolm Yorke (Matthew Smith His Life and Reputation, London, 1997, pp. 145-46) comments, 'One of Epstein's favourite models was a Kashmiri woman named Sunita Peerboy (or Peerbhoy) who had left her husband and fled to England with her son Enver and sister Anita. She had worked in a circus and sold erotica from a stall at the Wembley International Exhibition of 1924 before the three of them moved into the Epstein household for the next six years. Sunita was fond of alcohol and none too reliable but she and Enver modelled for the sculptor's ethereal Madonna (see lot 143). Smith evidently drew her as early as 1924 and may even have introduced her to Epstein, but his paintings of her both nude and in colourful saris date from 1930 to 1933 and were executed at 10 Passage Noirot. Both artists slept with her though this caused no tensions between them, since no love was involved. Sunita sat for both figures in Smith's The Two Sisters (1931; private collection) and several more nudes where her distinctive colouring, thick midriff and pointed breasts can be recognized. A couple of years later Sunita returned to India and disappeared in mysterious circumstances'.
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
The La Salle University artworks to be sold at Christie’s span Old Master works to modern British art. Four of our specialists select their favourites
One of East London's best-loved street artists opens up about his work
Pop art was not an all-American phenomenon — the UK, in fact, was where it started. Illustrated with works in our Modern British & Irish Art sale, 22 November
The watch that flew to the moon with NASA’s astronauts — a rare commemorative version of which is offered online, 24 April to 8 May
This monumental, square-format work is a major highlight of Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 20 June in London