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 John Guthrie Spence Smith  (1880 - 1951)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: Landscape and streetscape painting

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Biography from McTear's:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

John Guthrie Spence Smith was born in Perth in 1880 and died in Edinburgh in 1951.  A childhood illness caused John to lose his hearing and his speech, a condition which no doubt enhanced his visual senses.  The artist first came to notice in 1904 when his design was selected in a public competition for the cover of the Syllabus of the 1904 Perth Arts and Crafts Exhibition.  By 1906 John was attending the RSA Life Drawing Classes in Edinburgh where he studied under Charles Hodge Mackie and Robert Burns.  He won several prizes there.

Spence Smith was a co-founder and member of the so-called Edinburgh Group.  He was elected an Associate of the RSA in 1930 and elected a full Academician (RSA) in 1939.  His later works have strong influences of the Scottish Colourist movement and one could easily confuse his work as that of Cadell.  Smith had a distinctive approach to the landscapes and streetscapes of Scotland.

In 1977 a solo exhibition of John's work was mounted at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, as part of the 1977 Perth Festival of the Arts.  In 1983 nine works by the artist were included in the first exhibition devoted to the Edinburgh Group at the City Art Centre Edinburgh.  In 1986 an exhibition of his work was held at Perth Museum and Art Gallery and an accompanying booklet was also published to commemorate the 35th anniversary of his death.

John Guthrie Spence Smith's work is to be found in a number of public collections in Great Britain, including Kelvingrove, Paisley, Dundee, Aberdeen, Kirkcaldy, Fleming Collection and City Art Centre Edinburgh.

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