It is with great sadness that we announce the passing on Gordon A. Smith in his 101st year.
You can read his obituary in the Globe & Mail and the Vancouver Sun. Listen to Smith Foundation Board Chair, Paul Killeen speak about Gordon on The Early Edition on CBC.
Gordon Appelbe Smith, CM, OBC, LLD, June 18, 1919 – January 18, 2020, is a cornerstone in the history of Modernist painting in Canada. His works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, among others. Gordon’s deep belief in art education is what grounds our organization, and what has touched the lives of so many young Canadians.
The consummate artist, educator and art patron, Smith actively supported local visual art initiatives, mentored many, and spent hours a day in the studio. His body of work, executed in many different media, encompasses a diverse range of interests including his displacement to Canada from England as a young man; his World War II experiences; the natural beauty of the British Columbia landscape; and the tension between abstraction and representation.
Effervescent, wildly creative, endlessly youthful, energetic and hard-working. An infectious, ridiculously generous and tireless educator of those who didn’t even realise they were students until they got caught up in his orbit.
He thought that creativity was essential to everything, and – in order to be the best we can be at whatever it is that we do – it needs to be fostered.
His late wife, Marion Smith was said to have two careers, one as a celebrated social worker and another as Gordon’s boss. She possessed a keen eye for art and was a great influence on Gordon’s work. Her career in Social Services was buoyed by her belief that support for the arts creates healthy communities.
Together, their tireless work and dedication over the course of 50 years influenced the progression of Canadian art and helped to shape the lives of thousands of young people and emerging and established artists.
It is our great honour and fervent intent to foster his legacy as we continue to support his vision to develop a love of the arts in our communities.