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Clipper Ship on the Open Sea by Frank Vining Smith

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Directory: Fine Art: Paintings: Oil: N. America: American: Pre 1920: Item # 1194587

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Clipper Ship on the Open Sea by Frank Vining Smith
Artist: Frank Vining Smith (1879 - 1967), American Medium: Oil on canvas Size: 19” x 23” Signed: Unsigned, but guaranteed authorship Date: Circa 1950 Description: This painting depicts Smith’s classic clipper ship on the open sea. The handling of the water and the palate make this image unmistakably by Smith. Smith was expert in rendering the white capped waves and the wind in the sails can be felt in the image. Condition: The painting is in fair overall condition. There is some inpaint in the upper left sky area and scattered throughout the image. There is craquelure to the paint surface. The canvas has been re-lined. Artist Biography: (Courtesy of AskArt) Frank Vining Smith was born on August 25, 1879 in South Abington, Massachusetts, the son of Franklin Milton and Sarah Porter Vining Smith. His parents separated and Frank spent his childhood being cared for by his mother, grandmother, and sister, Susan. South Abington eventually became Whitman, renamed after Frank's great grandfather, Jared Whitman. As a boy, Frank spent summers with his grandfather at his cottage on Monument Beach in Buzzards Bay, "where" Frank said, " I acquired my love for the water and boats. I swam at six and was sailing at ten years of age." Frank graduated from Whitman High School in 1897. He spent the next two years at the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts where he studied under Frank W. Benson (1862-1951), Philip L. Hale (1865-1931), and Edmund C. Tarbell (1862-1938). The following year he studied painting at the Central Ontario School of Design in Toronto. He later moved to New York and attended the Art Students League in New York City, while employed as a newspaper artist and cartoonist for the McClure newspaper syndicate. During his early career he held illustrating positions at the Boston Herald and the Boston Journal, eventually becoming head of the Journal's art department. Between assignments, Frank continued to pursue his love of painting, producing covers for the National Sportsman and other magazines. He drew cartoons for the Boston Globe from 1909-1910. During World War I, he worked for the U.S. Shipping Board as a camouflage artist. Frank held the position of staff artist at the Boston Sunday Herald until 1925 when, in his mid-forties, he quit the position to dedicate himself to a full time painting career. The artist estimated that he painted over one thousand marine canvases during his lifetime. He said, "You see, my newspaper training taught me to work swiftly. I work very fastI believe I turn out a painting in about half the time the average artist takes." In 1938 he and his wife, Nella Lesta Bonney settled into their new home at 64 High Street in Hingham Massachusetts. Here Smithy devoted long hours to painting in his home studio with its large windows and northern exposure. When he wasn't at his easel, he could be found working in the flower gardens just outside the studio. He was a member of the Guild of Boston Artists and a four-time winner of the Richard Mitton Gold Medal Award in the Jordan Marsh New England Artist's Show. One-man exhibitions of his paintings have been held in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and New York. His marine paintings still hang in museums and private collections from coast to coast. He was a former rear commodore and lifetime member of the Cruising Club of America, and enjoyed memberships in both New Bedford and Hingham Yacht Clubs. On June 12, 1954, the artist's beloved wife Nella died, thus beginning Smithy's declining years. Later that same year he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, and in 1958 was successfully operated on for cancer. Four years later he suffered a slight shock and began referring to himself as an "armchair sailor". In spite of his failing health, and although frequently plagued by double vision, the artist continued to turn out canvases until the last few years of his life. On July 30, 1967 Frank Vining Smith died at his home, with lifelong friend Ednah Blanchard by his side. The Reverend Donald Robinson, pastor of the Second Parish Church of Hingham said of the artist, "he was great in his chosen work and yet equally great in his simple humanity", a sentiment shared by all of us who were fortunate enough to have known him. Books and Articles used in this research: The Golden days of Sail - A Retrospective Exhibition of The Art of Frank Vining Smith. Exhibition Catalog, Copyright 1975 by the Trustees of Heritage Plantation of Sandwich, Sandwich, Massachusetts Printed by Leyden Press, Inc., Plymouth, Massachusetts Catalog size: 36 pages; 41 black and white photographs 1956 Patriot Ledger Newspaper article: Never A Flaw in Painted Rigging: Tributes of Ancient Mariners Rich Reward to Hingham Artist, written by Fred Hunt, Patriot Ledger Staff Reporter. Provenance: Private estate


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