Michael Smither was born in New Plymouth (1939) in the North Island of New Zealand. He attended the University of Auckland, School of Fine Arts - Elam (1959-60) and his early work revealed a sombre, but impressive painterly vision of the New Zealand landscape. He achieved early success, attracting the attention of Australian art writer, Bernard Smith, who wrote on Smither’s work in Australian art publications.

Smither was the recipient of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago, Dunedin in 1969, completing a number of his most accomplished paintings during this residency. These focused on depicting the Otago landscape and domestic scenes of his family life. Although Smither paid homage to regionalism in a painting titled Memoriam to Rita Angus, (1970), his work was also included in a survey exhibition of New Zealand expressionist artists, Anxious Images (1984), confirming the depth of his engagement with the human condition and the range of his practice as a serious artist. Though it's probably for the works that depict the Taranaki landscape of his childhood that Smither is most well known.

Smither’s work is held in the collections of the Auckland Art Gallery and the Museum of New Zeland - Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington amongst many other public and private collections in New Zealand.
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