George Henry Smillie
(1840 - 1921)
George Henry Smillie was active/lived in New York, California. George Smillie is known for Hudson River style landscape painting, Indian genre, engraving.
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.
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
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
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.
National Academy of Design
American Watercolor Society
National Academy of Design, 1875-1891
Philadelphia Centennial, 1876
Boston Art Club, 1880-1908
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Union League Club (Philadelphia)
National Academy of Design
Rhode Island School of Design
New York Public Library
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
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
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
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.