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 Marion Canfield Smith  (1873 - 1970)

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Lived/Active: Nebraska      Known for: Indian portrait, landscape

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Marion Canfield Smith was a teacher of art and then head of the Art Department at Kearney State College, now part of the University of Nebraska, from 1905 until 1943. She painted landscapes as well as portraits of Nebraska Indians, but she seldom exhibited her work.

She took her training at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Chicago Art Institute, and the Handicraft Guild of Minneapolis. For two years preceding her long-time teaching job, she taught Drawing in Santiago, Chili, and also served briefly as Supervisor of Drawing in Columbus, Nebraska.

In the early 1900s, she spent several summers living on the Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and she created a series of watercolor paintings of the Sioux Indians that have both historical and artistic significance. One of the paintings was a portrait of Mrs. Spotted Tail, wife of the Sioux Chief who was credited with signing the Peace Treaty at the close of the Sioux conflicts.

Few of her paintings have been found, and likely they were part of the many personal possessions she had to trade for room and board in a retirement home where she lived the last years of her long life of 97 years.

Source: Sharon Gustafson, "Early Nebraska Women Artists"

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