Francis Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915)

Francis Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915)

Until the 1880s painting was only a hobby for Francis Hopkinson Smith, for he was employed as a naval engineer in New York City following the Civil War.  Working alongside the artist James Syminton, Smith designed the foundation for the Statue of Liberty as well as many breakwaters in the surrounding area, including that of Block Island. After dabbling in art and literature for many years, Smith gave up this position in order to travel, and he immersed himself in these crafts.  His watercolors and charcoal drawings eventually brought him recognition, and many of these were included in his books on travel, including Fortunes of Oliver Horn and American Illustrators, published in 1894.  

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Smith, who was entirely self-taught, worked together with his friends Arthur Quartley and Charles Stanley Reinhart to develop an artist colony at Cold Spring Harbor, New York.  He was also the Treasurer of the American Watercolor Society, and a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Philadelphia Art Club and the Tile Club.  His watercolors depicting his summer travels to Europe, Mexico, and Turkey were exhibited at the National Academy of Design and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as in annual exhibitions at the Boston Art Club.  

References: See Who Was Who In American Art (1999), Gerdts Art Across America

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