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 George Henry Smillie  (1840 - 1921)

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Lived/Active: New York/California      Known for: Hudson River style landscape painting, Indian genre, engraving

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Ad Code: 3
George Henry Smillie
from Auction House Records.
Half Dome, Yosemite
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The son of a printmaker who engraved Hudson River School landscapes, George Smillie became a painter of traditional 19th-century landscapes in the Hudson River style.

He trained in engraving with his father, James Smillie, and then was a painting pupil of James McDougal Hart.  From 1862 to 1900, he exhibited at the National Academy of Design and was elected to membership in the Academy in 1882, and in 1892 became Secretary.

He spent most of his professional life in New York City, but he and his brother, James David Smillie, traveled West to the Rocky Mountains and Yosemite Valley in 1870. Two years later, he went to Europe, which resulted in a more forceful style and lightened palette.  He also traveled in the Adirondacks and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Late in his career, he adopted the Impressionist style.

In 1881, he married Nellie Sheldon Jacobs, a pupil of his brother's, and the three of them shared a studio.  He was introverted, and after the death of James in 1909, he lived as a solitary artist in the Bronxville.

Source:
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New York City on December 29, 1840, George Smillie was the son of James Smillie, engraver.  After learning the art of engraving from his father, George Henry studied painting with James McDougal Hart.

At 24 he was a successful landscape painter in NYC and an associate member of the National Academy.  During 1871-72 he and his brother, James David, rode horseback through the Rockies and on to California where they sketched in Yosemite.

After returning to his studio in New York, George continued to paint many western landscapes in a style espoused by the Hudson River School.

He died in Bronxville, NY on Nov. 10, 1921.

ASSOCIATIONS
National Academy of Design
American Watercolor Society

EXNIBITIONS
National Academy of Design, 1875-1891
Philadelphia Centennial, 1876
Boston Art Club, 1880-1908

COLLECTIONS
Oakland Museum
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Metropolitan Museum
Union League Club (Philadelphia)
National Academy of Design
Rhode Island School of Design
New York Public Library
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Atlantic Monthly, 1872; Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers (Fielding, Mantle); New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America (Groce, George C. and David H. Wallace); Artists of the American West (Samuels); American Art Annual 1907; Art News, 11-19-1921 & NY Times, 11-11-1921 (obits).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Karen L. North, Private Art Dealer:
Artist George Henry Smillie exhibited his work at the Boston Art Club, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Boston Athaneum and the Salmagundi Club among others.  He regularly exhibited at the National Academy of Design between 1862 and 1900.  He was elected to full membership in the National Academy in 1882 and became Secretary in 1892.  He was also a member of the Boston Art Club, the Brooklyn Art Association and the American Watercolor Society.

His brother, James David Smillie (1833-1909) was also an artist of note.  In 1881, Smillie married fellow artist, Nellie Sheldon Jacobs (1854-1926).

George H. Smillie’s works are featured in the collections of The National Gallery of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, The Corocoran Gallery, New York Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum of Art and The Rhode Island School of Design.

Smillie received his early artistic training from his father, James H. Smillie (1807-1885), an engraver by trade.  He later studied with artist James McDougal Hart (1828-1901), who instilled in him the importance of attention to detail that became an inherent part of George Smillie’s compositions.  During the nineteenth century, Smillie’s works were regarded as “highly finished” and “so creditable.”(1)

His early painting style exhibits influences from the Hudson River School in his choice of subject matter and color palette.  Later in his career, he adopted a lighter, more impressionistic style.



(1) Tuckerman, Henry. Book of the Artists. New York, 1867; p. 567.

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George Smillie is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Tonalism
Hudson River School Painters



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