Collection Online
oil on plywood
81.9 × 111.3 cm
Place/s of Execution
Sydney, New South Wales
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1963
© National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 8
Level 2, NGV Australia
Subjects (general)
Cityscapes Human Figures Structures
Subjects (specific)
expressways inner cities men (male humans) multistorey buildings New South Wales (state) street scenes Sydney (inhabited place) urban areas

Although spending much of his career in Italy, Jeffrey Smart was one of Australia’s most distinguished artists. Throughout his painting oeuvre he remained fascinated by the urban landscape, focusing on prosaic corners of the city and the sleek geometry hidden behind everyday detritus. Completed four years before Smart’s eponymous painting, Sydney’s Cahill Expressway was the first freeway to be constructed in Australia. Instead of a typically busy thoroughfare, Smart’s reveals the site almost entirely devoid of figures. A bald, suited man is the only presence, drawing attention to the artist’s highly composed pictorial structure.