Frank Vining Smith (1879-1967)

Frank Vining Smith (1879-1967)

Born in Whitman, Massachusetts, Frank Vining Smith studied at the nearby Boston Museum School with Philip Hale, Frank Benson, and Edmund C. Tarbell, and later attended the Central Ontario Design School in Toronto.  After a short time as a manager for a shoe store in Pennsylvania, he was given the opportunity to work as a newspaper artist for the McClure Newspaper Syndicate. He happily moved to New York City and attended the Art Students League in his free time. Around 1900, Smith moved to Boston, where he worked on the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe drawing advertisements and cartoons. During World War I, he was in charge of camouflage work in Philadelphia and New York and by 1925, now settled in Hingham, Massachusetts, Smith decided to quit his newspaper job to concentrate whole-heartedly on painting marine pictures. 

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As an avid sailor, Smith knew firsthand the character of the ocean and was meticulous in his depictions of the rigging and architecture of vessels, both contemporary and historic, with many having long been retired since the passing of the clipper ship era. Doll & Richards Gallery in Boston gave Smith his first one-man show in 1928 and ten years later, Vose Galleries held the exhibition Ships and the Sea, sparking a relationship with the artist that would span nearly thirty years. In 1975, a retrospective exhibition of more than one hundred oils, watercolors and drawings lent from private and public collections was held at the Heritage Plantation in Sandwich, Massachusetts. Today, examples of his work can be found at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in New Bedford, and the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

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