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Jeffrey Smart in “Il Boom” Italy

Jeffrey Smart was smitten by Italy in those tough years after the Second World War. The cult of the Mediterranean had long been a passion for English-speaking artists; and the young Australian was among a drift of creators and idlers who from the late 1940s flocked to the region around the Bay of Naples, from the isles of Ischia and Capri, extending past Sorrento along the Amalfi coast. For them the drowsy south was escape from cares and conventions: from the gloom of austerity Britain, from the pressure of America’s boom economy. The Neapolitan climate was pleasant, food cheap and…

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