Hope Smith ( 1879 – 1965) enjoyed painting winter scenes from her studio window. This painting of the historic “Shakespeare Head” building on a snowy day in Providence, RI. It actually makes you re-connect with the joys of the winter season.
Tucked away painting from the window of her North Main Street Studio, Hope Smith would not realize that her posterity as a Rhode Island artist would be made on her painted records of a fast disappearing and developing Providence. She cherished painting urban and rural scenes and this affection and integrity shines through all of the pieces of this subject matter. It is for these pieces that she is best remembered.
Hope Smith was one of the first graduates of the Mary C. Wheeler School in 1898. She then studied at Rhode Island School of Design, at the Julian School in Paris and under Woodbury Chase. It was in a 1916 Providence Art Club Show that her artistic talent was confirmed as she won praise from the Providence Journal art critic. He commented ” This group [of paintings] is far ahead of anything this young artist has yet shown, and entitles her to serious consideration.” He went on to say that, “This show was one of the most interesting and compelling exhibitions.”
The artist was a consistently strong painter who during her lifetime progressed logically in her artistic development. She has been identified by the art critic, Bradford Swan, as ” a spiritual heir of the Impressionists” who concentrated in her work on outdoor light. She had a strongly developed esthetic sense and her works were representative or realistic only on a superficial level. More specifically her painting reflected an internal vision, a private view of what she saw. While oil was the medium she primarily concentrated on, she exclusively worked in watercolors for two years, 1928-1930, in order that she could gain a freshness and surity in handling oils. It is in oils that her technical dexterity and ability to depict subtle shadings of light and color were admired.
An avid traveler, Hope Smith painted from Providence to China and in and around New England. During her lifetime she exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy, Boston Art Club, Providence Art Club, South County Art Association and the Newport Art Association. She was a member of the Providence Art Club and the South County Art Association.
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