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 Joline Butler Smith  (1849 - 1946)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut      Known for: landscape and portrait paintings

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
There is confusion in art reference literature about the gender of this artist, possibly to be attributed to his first name.  Recent discoveries however prove conclusively that  Joline Butler Smith lived most his life in Madison, Connecticut and was a resident of the town, when he died in 1946 in New Haven, at the age of 97.  He was preceeded in death by his wife, the former Caroline Marcia Brown, daughter of a one time treasurer of the New Haven Savings Bank.

A landscape and portrait painter, he attended the first class at Yale School of The Fine Arts, 1869-70 (certificate; awarded B.F.A. 1898)and served as librarian at the school from 1877 to 1878.  In 1887, he studied at the Atelier of Gerome and The Academie Julian in Paris, and exhibited that same year a painting entitled “Going Home” at The National Academy of Design in new York City.

Smith was associated for several years with the Tiffany Glass Company in New York City, where two windows painted by him entitled Autumn and Spring were loaned by Tiffany and exhibited at the Architectural League of New York, also in 1887.  Additional Tiffany commissions were the Davenport Group and three south windows in Center Church, New Haven, as well as new churches in New York City and elsewhere in the United States.

He exhibited sketches at the Kit Kat Club, N.Y.C. with posters by Will H. Bradley in  1896, and maintained an art glass studio at 149 Orange St., New Haven for designing and painting stained glass windows from 1898 to 1916.  Local glass commissions include First Methodist Church, St. Paul’s Church and the chapel at Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven; Congregation Church, West Winsted and others.

From 1902 to 1906 he served as assistant in Illustration and Decorative Design, Yale School of The Fine Arts with John F. Weir and John Niemeyer.  Engaged in landscape, portrait painting and stained glass window design, he was a member of the New Haven Paint And Clay Club, and exhibited at it’s charter exhibition in 1900 and twelve additional times until 1921. He was also a member of the Acorn Club.

Studies at historical archives in Madison have revealed that he also drew sketches of  a historical home, the Thomas Wilcox Homestead in then East Guilford, Connecticut.  Though unsigned, accompanying written documents prove the sketch to be by his hand.  A handwritten note explains how Smith tore down the house and used the lumber to build a new one, which was bought by the Shoreline Universalist Church as their meetinghouse in 1968.

Obituary Joline B. Smith, Shoreline Times, 2/14/46; The Charlotte L. Evarts Memorial Archive, Madison, CT; Falk, Peter (ed.) Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975, Sound View Press, Madison, CT, 1999; Bulletin of Yale University-Obituary Record, 1945-46; Directory of Living Graduates Yale University, 1908; The Yale University Banner, 1878; Catalogue of Yale University, 1905-06; Yearbook and Catalogue of The Architectural League of New York, 1887; N.Y. Times 1887, 1896; Connecticut Magazine, 1903-04, New Haven City Directory, 1868-1916; New Haven Paint & Clay Club Exhibition Catalogues.

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