FREDERICK CARL SMITH
American (California / Washington DC) 1868-1955
“BATHERS AMONGST THE ROCKS IN A COVE”
Oil on Canvas Affixed to Board
Signed 'F. Carl Smith' l.l.; signed and titled indistinctly verso
Housed in what appears to be the original frame
Museums: Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum
Other works: Public Library, Minneapolis, MN; Continental Hall, Washington, DC; Allegheny (PA) Observatory;
State Capitol, Denver; State Capitol, Columbus, OH
Note: Founding Member of the Laguna Beach Art Association
This is an extraordinary work of early Laguna Beach California by Frederick Carl Smith, who was one
of the founding members of the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918. Smith studied at the Cincinnati Art School,
before studying in Paris in the 1890’s with Bouguereau, Ferrier, and Constant. In Paris, he exhibited at the Salon in
1897 and 1899. Upon his return to the States in 1900, he worked in Washington DC, primarily as a portrait painter,
exhibiting at the National Academy of Design and the Corcoran Gallery, among others. In 1917, he moved to
California where he painted this extremely vibrant and well executed scene of young bathers on the rocky beach.
Although Smith is not one of the most widely known of the early California painters, this work is outstanding in any
body of work. The brilliant colors are the most immediate attraction to the painting. However, close examination reveals
a quite subtle play of warm and cool hues – particularly in the flesh tones and sea. The light is typical of Laguna in some
seasons (and also the South of France), often resulting in this distinctive palette of colors. The composition is flawless, and
the rendering of the children, while executed in rich impasto strokes, is both free and exact – equal to the best of any master.
It is housed in what appears to be the original painted panel giltwood frame.
Image Size: 12” x 16”
Framed, under mixed daylight and gallery light
Verso with signature and indistinct title
Birth place: Cincinnati, OH
Death place: Pasadena, CA
Addresses: Washington, DC, c.1900; New York City, 1900; Pasadena, CA, c.1917 and after
Profession: Portrait painter
Studied: Cincinnati Art Academy; Académie Julian, Paris with Bouguereau, Ferrier, Constant.
Exhibited: Paris Salon, 1897, 1899; National Academy of Design, 1900; Society of Washington Artists;
Washington Watercolor Club; American Art Society, Philadelphia, 1902; Los Angeles County Museum of Art;
Corcoran Gallery Annual, 1908; Society of Independent Artists, 1917; Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, 1921 (prize).
Member: California Art Club; Society of Washington Artists; Washington Watercolor Club; Paris American Art Association;
Laguna Beach Art Association; Pasadena Society of Art.
Work: Frederick R Weisman Art Museum; Public Library, Minneapolis, MN; Continental Hall, Washington, DC;
Allegheny (PA) Observatory; State Capitol, Denver; State Capitol, Columbus, OH
Comments: Studied and painted in Paris for 7 years, marrying Isabel E. Smith in 1895 in London
and returning to the U.S. c.1900.
Sources: Who’s Who 1953; Who’s Who 1947; Marlor, Society of Independent Artists, listed as F. Carl Smith;
McMahan, Artists of Washington, DC, 200; Fink, American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons, 391 (as Carl F. Smith).
This biography is drawn from the 'Who Was Who in American Art' , the reference book on the cultural life in the United States.
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