Iain Gale on exhibitions

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Appearances are deceptive. Take Matthew Smith for instance, the subject of an impressive show which opened at the Barbican last week. His sensual female nudes, legs akimbo, wearing nothing but a string of pearls and painted in a palette of hot red and orange, suggest the hand of lascivious character, as willing to bed his models as he was to paint them. Smith, though, was quite the opposite: a charmingly diffident example of the gentleman artist to whom family life was all. The paradox is explored in the book which accompanies the show, the first major publication on the artist for 30 years.

A similar duality is present in the work and mind of visionary painter Cecil Collins currently under scrutiny at the Tate. The idyllic, Palmer- esque pastorals and Blakeian angles of his paintings and water colours belie the reality of the tortured soul revealed in the accompanying documents. Here are Collins's dictums for great art. It is hardly surprising that he advises himself to "pray each night", or to "paint pictures and exhibit them". But it is hard to reconcile the originality and vitality of these pictures with many of these troubled scribbles, one of which informs us that we should "beware Fats... get up early", and (highlighted) "read no newspapers".

three to see

Gerhard Richter: Recent works by the artist hailed as Europe's greatest painter. Anthony d'Offay, London

Rites of Passage: Important survey of the current "cutting edge" from 11 international artists. Tate Gallery, London

Paul Klee: Rare, seminal works from the Bauhaus period of the great Swiss surrealist. Berggruen and Zevi, London

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