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Painting is my passion, I find it very rewarding and it fills me with a sense of excitement I don’t get from anything else.

Frans Smit was born in Stellenbosch in 1976. After he finished school, he studied science at Stellenbosch university, although a keen interest in the sciences, he decided to study in a field with more creativity and so ended up at the Freestate Technicon to study photography. After completing 4 years, he moved to london where he furthered he's interest in the creative arts and followed various courses in painting at institutions like Chelsea College of art and design, City lit and the prestigious Central Saint Martins. 

Frans Smit’s Solo at Galerie Wolfsen in Aalborg, Denmark.


Smit is fast becoming one of the rising stars within the South African art community. With more than forty exhibitions under his name, Smit’s artwork has been showcased local and internationally. He was selected for the Absa L’atelier award in 2008 and 2010. In 2013 he won the Queensplate “Moments” Photographic Competition and received a Merit Award at the Vuleka ArtAward.

Re-imagining old masters paintings into contemporary artworks is the centre around which Frans Smit’s creative process revolves. A hybrid of current and past art movements, give way to a new visual language, evident in his latest body of work.

Reaching into the past, Smit derives inspiration from 13th–17th century European portraits, biblical scenes and still life. Composition and subject serve as a starting point for both paintings and fine art photography.

On canvas, the artist wields a wide range of contemporary mediums and practices that are carefully brought into balance with highly orthodox and classical approaches to painting. Famous and lesser known masterpieces by Rembrandt, John Singer Sargent, Van Eyck, Velazquez and others are given new life and meaning.


“I believe in order to create great art one has to finish a painting with the same passion and enthusiasm as when you start it. Constant hard work is the key to success, talent is not enough.”

Frans Smit

 Smit’s art focuses mainly on portraiture and still lives, which blends in a degree of abstract. Frans’ personal reinterpretation of classical artists such as Rembrandt and Sargent, offers a fresh and vibrant spin to the traditional portraiture style of the painting masters of the past, marking his art as an essential contribution to the contemporary painting scene.

Smit has masterfully created balance seen throughout his paintings and photography, in order to cohesively tell a new story from old.

The viewer is taken on a visual adventure back and forth through the passage of time by connecting visual and conceptual notions and practices from over 5 centuries with the present.

Smit currently works at his Studio in Woodstock, Cape Town as a full time artist.


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