Gordon Appelbe Smith

Gordon Appelbe Smith, painter, printmaker, teacher (b at East Brighton, Eng 18 June 1919). In 1933 Smith immigrated to Winnipeg where he studied under L.L. FITZGERALD. Wounded during WWII, he moved to Vancouver in 1944, where he joined his wife and completed his studies at the Vancouver School of Art. He taught at the VSA 1946-56, and the Faculty to Education, UBC, as professor of fine arts (1956-1982). Since his retirement from UBC, Smith has remained an important and vital teacher, particularly of young children, and was a founding supporter of the Artists for Kids program with the North Vancouver School Board.

Smith first attracted national attention for his award-winning Structure with Red Sun at the First Biennial of Canadian Painting in 1955. His work is a form of romantic lyric abstraction that balances the pervasive influence of the West Coast landscape with a gestural, non-objective manner of painting. This gestural quality has become particularly pronounced in his work since the mid-1980s. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1996. In 1997 the VANCOUVER ART GALLERY mounted a 55-year retrospective of this work, which was accompanied by a major book.