Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Lionel Smit

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Lionel Smit Painting by Lionel Smit EN TheMAG

Born  22 October 1982 (age 38 years), Pretoria, South Africa

Similar  Nandipha Mntambo, Mary Sibande, Pamela Stretton


Lionel Smit (born 22 October 1982, Pretoria, South Africa) is a South African artist, known for his contemporary portraiture executed through large canvases and sculptures.


Lionel Smit 1000 images about L I O N E L S M I T on Pinterest Art

Smit lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, but is also represented internationally in London. His work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London where it received the Viewer’s Choice Award, as well as selected as the 'face' of the BP Portrait Award 2013 for all campaigns. He received a Ministerial Award from the South African Department of Culture in 2013 for Visual Art. One of his paintings was pictured on the cover of Christie’s Auction Catalogue.

Lionel Smit Painting by Lionel Smit EN TheMAG

He has had solo exhibitions and been selected as a featured artist in several art fairs across Amsterdam, Germany, India, Miami, Monaco, London and Hong Kong, and has established a substantial international following with collectors ranging from the Standard Chartered Bank to Laurence Graff Art Collection at Graff Delaire Wine Estate.

Lionel Smit 1000 images about Lionel Smit on Pinterest Artworks Portrait and

Lionel smit at the didrichsen art museum


Lionel Smit httpssmediacacheak0pinimgcom236xaa59ea

Born in 1982 in Pretoria, South Africa, Smit was exposed to sculpture through his father, sculptor Anton Smit, who worked from his studio adjacent to the family home. This studio played a central role in Lionel’s upbringing. By age twelve, Smit was already working in clay and considered himself primarily as a sculptor. At sixteen his parents separated, after which Lionel, a student at Pretoria’s Pro Arte School of Arts at the time, began to use the empty studio space his father occupied for painting. He went on to graduate as the Best Painting Student in his class.

Work and Subject Matter

Lionel Smit Artodyssey Lionel Smit

Lionel Smit’s art is defined by a relationship between sculpture and painting. His paintings start with abstract lines and colour that establish a base for the subsequently overlaid image of a face or bust – in most cases posed by anonymous models from the Cape Malay community.

Smit’s bronzes are created using the lost-wax casting method. Patinas commonly available to artists working in bronze include natural browns, blacks and greens. However, Smit uses alternative methods that result in a saturated patina onto the bronze.

Smit is based in Strand, Cape Town. He has achieved international success including sell-out exhibitions in London and Hong Kong.

Local acclaim

Lionel Smit has also enjoyed success in his home country of South Africa, where his work has featured in local publications such as Elle South Africa and Elle Decoration. He has been interviewed on the television show Top Billing and his work is featured in the homes of many guests on the show.Lionel Smit's artwork is also used on the set of the talk show, Afternoon Express.

Qualifications and Awards

  • 2013 Visitors' Choice Award, BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • 2013 Ministerial Award from Department of Culture for Visual Art, Western Cape Government
  • 2009 Merit Award, Vuleka, Sanlam Art Competition, Cape Town
  • 2008 Achievement Award, Pro Arte School of Arts
  • 2000 First prize in the MTN Art Colours Awards of Gauteng
  • 1999/2000 Best painting student, Pro Arte School of Arts
  • Selected Exhibitions


  • Close/Perspective, solo exhibition, Everard Read, Johannesburg
  • Origins, solo exhibition, Rook & Raven, London
  • Obscura, solo exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town
  • Art Central Art Fair, featured artist, Rook & Raven Gallery, Hong Kong
  • Accumulation of Disorder, installation, Independent Art Projects, MASS MoCA Campus, USA
  • 2014

  • Art Taipei, The Cat Street Gallery, Taiwan
  • Contronym, solo exhibition, The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
  • Morphous, solo exhibition and installation, Circa, Johannesburg
  • Cumulus, solo exhibition, Rook & Raven, London
  • Fugitive Identity, group exhibition, Cynthia Reeves, USA
  • 2013

  • Art Miami Fair, featured artist, Cynthia Reeves, Miami
  • IS Sculpture, solo exhibition, IsArt, Tokara, Stellenbosch
  • Strarta Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, Rook & Raven, London
  • Fragmented, solo exhibition, Rook & Raven, London
  • Accumulation, solo exhibition, Everard Read, Johannesburg
  • BP Portrait Award Exhibition, Viewers' Choice Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Wonder Works Exhibition, The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
  • Metal Work Public sculpture, Stellenbosch
  • 2012

  • Compendium, solo exhibition, 34FineArt, Cape Town
  • Accumulation of Disorder, installation, University of Stellenbosch Gallery, Stellenbosch
  • Strata, solo exhibition, Rook and Raven, London
  • Robert Bowman Gallery, India Art Fair, India
  • Jhb Art Fair, Everard Read
  • 2011

  • Surface, solo exhibition, Artspace, Johannesburg
  • 34FineArt, ArtMonaco ‘11, Monaco
  • 2010

  • Out of the Office, group exhibition, Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany
  • Cynthia Reeves Projects, Art Miami, USA
  • We are not Witches, Saatchi Gallery, London
  • Submerge, solo exhibition, 34FineArt, Cape Town
  • 2009

  • F.A.C.E.T., Charity Auction, Christie’s, London
  • Relate, solo exhibition, Grande Provence, Franschhoek
  • Catalogues

  • Cumulus LIONEL SMIT, Rook & Raven, London 2014
  • Formulation LIONEL SMIT, Tokara, Stellenbosch 2013
  • Accumulation LIONEL SMIT, Everard Read, Johannesburg 2013
  • Strata LIONEL SMIT, Rook & Raven, London, 2012
  • Surface LIONEL SMIT, Artspace, Johannesburg 2011
  • We are not Witches, Saatchi Gallery, London 2011
  • Submerge LIONEL SMIT, 34FineArt, October 2010
  • Christie’s, F.A.C.E.T (catalogue cover), October 2009
  • Residue, Grande Provence Gallery, October 2009
  • Group therapy, Sandton Civic Gallery, 2005
  • Pretoria, Everard Read Gallery, November 2004
  • Selected Collections

  • Ellerman Contemporary
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Laurence Graff
  • Rand Merchant Bank
  • European Investment Bank
  • Johannesburg City Council
  • Saronsberg Wine Estate
  • Grainvest Futures
  • Delaire Graff Wine Estate
  • South African Embassy, Nigeria
  • Parkdev
  • Johann Jacobs Museum
  • References

    Lionel Smit Wikipedia