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 Gean Smith  (1851 - 1928)

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Lived/Active: Texas/New York/Illinois      Known for: horse portrait painting, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
Gean Smith
from Auction House Records.
Domino Winning the Matron Stakes
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter and illustrator whose work is especially focused on horses, Gean Smith was born in New York state and moved to Chicago in 1871, where he established a studio until 1884.  The next year, he moved to New York City and worked there until 1923, when he settled in Galveston, Texas.

He earned a reputation for horse portraits, although he also did dog paintings and Civil War genre such as his 1884 painting, General Grant and His Staff at Fort Donelson.  He was a book illustrator with work including Tales of the Turf and 'Rank Outsiders' by Richard Cary (1891).

In one of his paintings, The Parade of Prize Winners, he depicted 65 individual horses, focusing on the personality of each one.  For a menu at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, he painted a champion trotter image that became a collector's item.

He said he was self-taught "except for one lesson" (Samuels 450) when he was age 16 and spent a dollar for a one-hour session in the use of crayons.  Of his subjects, he said: "The real likeness of a horse in action is above the legs." (Samuels 450)

In 1923, Smith retired to Galveston, Texas and died there at St. Mary's Infirmary in 1928.  He is buried in that city in the Episcopal Cemetery.

Exhibitions include the Annual Texas Artists Exhibition in Fort Worth, 1925 to 1928.  His painting is represented in the Capitol Historical Artifact Collection in Austin.

John and Deborah Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic Artists
Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West.

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