|American Paintings — Frank Vining Smith - Grouse Over Marshland|
|Frank Vining Smith - Grouse Over Marshland
Medium: Oil on board
Dimensions: Image size: 18" x 26"; Framed size: 23 ¼" x 31"
Signed l.l.: Frank Vining Smith
This is a beautiful painting of coastal New England, which depicts four airborne grouse gracefully descending into a multi-colored marshland. Indeed, Frank Vining Smith's work features an array of dazzling autumn colors. The marsh plants are tinted orange, yellow, red, and green, and the water and sky both assume a similar shade of sparkling blue. The birds are emblazoned with the same configuration of whites, blues, reds and blacks. Yet as impressive as Smith's deployment of color is in this composition, his painterly style is nearly as captivating. Every section of the impressionistic, highly personalized work is lushly and richly detailed. In addition, Smith does a masterful job of conveying a deep recession of space. While the viewer is virtually situated at one corner of the marsh, he or she is also positioned so as to look out towards an unbroken mountain chain, and up at a cloud-filled and sun-drenched sky. In spite of Smith's numerous technical accomplishments, however, it is the artist's success at evoking the spirit of a calm New England day that first and foremost marks this painting as an unquestionable triumph.
Smith was born in South Abington (present-day Whitman), Massachusetts. He received extensive artistic training, having studied under Frank Benson, Philip L. Hale, and Edmund C. Tarbell, and attended classes at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, the Central Ontario School of Design in Toronto, and the Art Students League in New York City. After the completion of his education, Smith received steady work as an illustration artist and cartoonist for newspapers and magazines that included the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Boston Journal, Outdoors, Field and Stream, Yachting, the McClure newspaper syndicate, and the National Sportsman. During World War I, he worked for the U.S. Shipping Board as a camouflage artist. In 1925, Smith decided to quit all of his staff positions in order to become a full-time painter.
While Smith is primarily known as a painter of schooners, clipper ships and whalers, he also produced a number of outstanding paintings of coastal water scenes. Smith was an avid sportsman and member of the Blue Water Cruising Club who enjoyed hunting, fishing and sailing.
Smith was a member of the Guild of Boston Artists and a four-time winner of the Richard Mitton Gold Medal Award in the Jordon Marsh New England Artist's Show. He held one-man exhibitions of his paintings in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New York. Smith died at his Hingham, Massachusetts home on July 30, 1967.