James Calvert Smith (American, 1878-1962)
The Modern Artist
Oil on canvas, signed.
Painting size: 31” x 24”
Frame size: 33” x 26”
James Calvert Smith moved to New York in 1896 to pursue a career as a switchboard engineer for the New Jersey and New York phone companies. After formal art training, he began to sell his illustrations to popular New York magazines including Life, Harpers, and Post. In 1905 Smith was offered an illustrator’s position with the Jacksonville Time Union where he perfected a sketchy style similar to the early work of Norman Rockwell. Smith’s base was the shores of the Housatonic River in Connecticut where he continued to contribute to a list of magazines, until 1946, when he returned to Florida, where he lived untl his death in 1962.
Smith’s commissions began in New York with murals in the New York Museum of Natural History and the Ford Foundation. He also completed commissions for the Ford Museum at Willow Run, the Library of Congress, and Coca Cola’s New York Headquarters. In addition to his illustrations and cartoons, Smith also painted landscapes. The graceful union of nature and village in his scenes became known as the ‘Smith Style.’
-From Museum of Arts and Sciences Magazine, Summer, 1988.