Jori Smith, self-portrait
Jori Smith was born in Montreal in 1907. After four years of traditional academic training at the École des beaux-arts in Montreal (1925-29), Smith, studied briefly with Randolph Hewton at the Art Association of Montreal and then privately with Edwin Holgate. Like Holgate, A.Y. Jackson and other artists, Smith was attracted to Quebec’s Charlevoix region, where she was captivated by the rolling countryside and the character and kindness of the rural inhabitants. In 1939, Smith joined the Contemporary Arts Society, affirming her passion for a dynamic expression that she joyfully pursued into her nineties. She died in Montreal in 2005.
She was particularly attracted to children as subjects, revealing in their demeanours – especially in the portraits of the 1930s- a gravity beyond years.
As did her friend Jean-Paul Lemieux, who pursued an academic approach to the figure, Smith embraced a style inspired by European modernism as a means of evoking the personalities of hardworking folk.
Source: Anne Newlands, Canadian art from its beginnings to 2000, Firefly books, Canada, 2000