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 Paul Pavel Smith  

About: Paul Pavel Smith
 

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: mod religious allegory

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A minister from California, he was part of a joke that Boston art gallery owner, Robert C. Vose, played to reveal the superficial aspects of modern art. Although Smith's wife was a traditional portrait painter, he had no art background when he and Vose agreed to a plot that Smith should be introduced to the Boston cultural scene in 1925 as the "Founder and Supreme Master of the Disumbrationist School of Painting." Smith had been angered because his wife's work had been described as "old hat," and he determined to prove that he, without training, could paint as well as the so-called moderns.

Smith did seven abstract canvases suggestive of the seven deadly sins, and the canvases were reviewed with great seriousness in New York, Boston, and Chicago. However, critics finally became suspicious, and Vose was forced to reveal the hoax, angering some modernist painters including Charles Hovey Pepper, who exhibited regularly with Vose.

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