Bissell Phelps Smith was born in Westbrook, Connecticut on July 10, 1892, a descendent of seafaring people. He studied at Yale University and Syracuse University Schools of Fine Arts, later accepting a job as a commercial illustrator in Syracuse, New York. He was a newspaper artist in New Jersey and Art Director of "Veeder's Digest" at the tank gauge company, Veeder-Root, in Hartford, Connecticut from 1948-1958.
The artist furthered his studies with Arthur J.E. Powell, Glenn Newall, Harry Waltman, Stanley Woodward, and Emile Gruppe. He was a member of numerous art organizations including the Connecticut Academy of the Fine Arts, the Lyme Art Association, the Rockport Art Association, the North Shore Art Association, the Artists and Writers of Connecticut, the Berkshire Art Association, the Hudson Valley Art Association, the Salmagundi Club, the Dutchess County Art Association and many more.
Smith painted all of his life and was noted for his lectures, painting demonstrations and seascape paintings of Rockport, Gloucester and the Island areas. He also did numerous landscape paintings all around Connecticut.
His exhibitions include the Kent Art Association yearly from 1939-1962, the Connecticut Academy of the Fine Arts yearly from 1942-1962, the Albany Institute of History and Art in 1956, the Rockport Art Association in 1954 and 1962. His works are in the collections of Syracuse University, Choate School, Loomis School, and the Wethersfield and Wallingford, Connecticut Libraries.
His final home was in Wethersfield, Connecticut, where he lived with his wife, Frances, and his daughter, Doris, before her marriage. He died on December 3, 1962 at the age of seventy.
The Hartford Courant, December 4, 1952, p 4B (obit).
Submitted by Kevin Murphy