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 De Cost Smith  (1864 - 1939)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: Indian figure-genre, illustrator

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De Cost Smith
from Auction House Records.
Horse Stealing
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
De Cost Smith was born in Skaneateles in Western New York State in 1864. He seemed by temperament and the accident of his birth locale to have been directed toward a life associated with, and devoted to, the Indians of America, and to making art from their lives. They, in turn, sensed his sympathetic attitude and responded in kind to him. It is for this art, accurately recording the lives and customs of these peoples, that Smith is best known.

He studied art in New York City and later at the Academie Julian in Paris, and while there, Smith's earliest Indian paintings were shown in the Salon. But it was his personal experience with the Indians and the paintings of Indians by George De Forest Brush that encouraged Smith to find his own place in the ranks of such artists.

Having grown up as boy near their Reservation, Smith had been initiated into the Onondaga tribe. After his first trip in 1884 to the Dakota Territory to paint Indians, Smith traveled widely among many tribes, learning to speak several dialects. He created a number of distinguished articles for Outing Magazine with fellow painter of Indians, Edwin Willard Deming.  Many articles on Western life in major magazines were illustrated by Smith.

De Cost Smith died in 1939.

He was a member of the American Ethnological Society and Salmagundi Club. His work is in the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the American Indian in New York City.

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Source: David Michael Zellman

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