Jori Smith studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal, and then under the direction of Edwin Holgate. In 1939, she was among the founding members of Montreal’s Contemporary Arts Society, a group of artists advocating freedom from established representational conventions. Their shift away from the Canadian landscape allowed its members to turn instead towards figures and portraits, as well as nudes, one of Smith’s favourite subjects. “While I liked painting portraits, I am now increasingly going back to my first love, the nude,” she declared in 1937, in an interview with Graham C. McInnes. Regardless of the technique employed, her nudes are among her freest, most spontaneous works.