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 Edward Gregory Smith  (1880 - 1961)

About: Edward Gregory Smith
 

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/Michigan      Known for: landscape-coastals, nocturnes

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Gregory Edward Smith
from Auction House Records.
Nocturne
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following was submitted July 2002 by Jennifer Hazen whose sources are the artist's daughter and grandson, Mary Smith Symonds and Gregory Smith Symonds.

Gregory Smith was one of the younger group of artists who came to Old Lyme,
Connecticut when the summer art colony was commanding the attention of artists and art patrons throughout the east.  It was his friend and fellow painter, Will Howe Foote, who persuaded Smith to move from his home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan to Old Lyme in 1910.  Smith was thirty at the time, had studied for a couple of years at the Chicago Art Institute, and was anxious to meet many of the well-known artists who stayed in Old Lyme.

As a young man, Smith looked up to many of the older artists such as Childe Hassam and Willard Metcalf, who were both twenty years his senior.  Smith was very fond of telling a story about one of his first exposures to some of the artists staying at Miss Florence Griswold's house.  He went for a walk on a late May evening over to the Bow Bridge, which spanned the Lieutenant River and was a popular subject for many of the artists.  Enroute, he spotted Hassam and Metcalf standing on the bridge, staring
intently into the water.  Smith felt a certain inspiration at seeing these two artists and was sure they were gazing at the reflection in the water from a lovely sunset.  And so, by way of introduction, he commented on how beautiful the evening was.  But the artists took little notice of Smith's introductory remark, for they were busy disposing of several of Miss Florences's cats in the river!

When Smith and his wife Annie first came to Old Lyme they rented the Brick Store, a brick house that was a landmark on the corner near the present site of the Lyme Art Association.  They lived there for a few years and would often take their meals at Miss Florence's house.  Smith sometimes stayed at Miss Florence's for several months at a time when Mrs. Smith took the children to Florida.  In 1916 the Smiths built a house and studio on Sill Lane in Old Lyme.  He lived there until his death in 1961.  A beautiful arbor connected the studio to the main house.

An avid walker, Smith never felt the need to drive a car.  He loved walking over the Old Lyme countryside.  His paintings serve as a careful record of the local landscape with which he was so familiar.  Several paintings of the Sill Lane-Lieutenant River are near his home are included in his works.

Many other paintings of Smiths might have been included in his works were lost to a tragic accident in the middle of his career.  A fire in 1925 totally destroyed his studio and most of the work he had accumulated to that time.

"Gregory Smith was one of the finest painters who lived on into this later generation. We all knew him well and he was a very delightful character."  This remark by the artist Nelson C. White gives one indication of Smith's popularity in Old Lyme.  His sharp wit captured everyone's attention at parties.  And he was often in on the antics and practical jokes the artists played on each other.

Though perhaps not as commercially successful as some of the Old Lyme group, the quality of his paintings was highly respected by his fellow artists.  Smith was awarded several of the most prestigious exhibition prizes at the Lyme Art Association, including the W.S. Eaton Purchase Prize, the Museum Purchase Prize, the Mr. and Mrs. William O. Goodwin Prize and the Woodhull Adams Memorial Prize.

Throughout his life, Smith had an absorbing interest in politics and was involved for years in Republican activities in Old Lyme.  Smith was an active member of the Lyme Art Association, serving as its President from 1934-1958.  During his later years, he managed their gallery and enjoyed a bit of local fame with the "Janitor" series of newspaper articles about the activities of the Association.

Gregory Smith passed away on November 7, 1961 at his daughter's home in Carlisle, PA.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Gregory Smith is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Old Lyme Colony Painters
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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