Painting in July 1882, Market under the Arches, Lucerne, Switzerland, is wholly typical of Smith’s mastery of the watercolor medium. During his extensive travels, he was known to carry sheets of paper in a range of white tints and light colors in order to use the negative space effectively, and here he chose a softer shade to reflect the warm light of a European summer and the earth tones of the stone thoroughfare and archway. In an article about his watercolor technique published one year later, Smith remarked, “If I can make my sheet of paper paint for me, I like it as any other wash of color.” The author also described the artist’s method of working fast to capture his initial impression of a scene through a series of sketches before selecting the composition he believes works best. In his final paintings, he frequently placed the darkest part of a picture off to one side, here evidenced by the cluster of figures and baskets under the shaded archway at right, and gradually echoing ever light tones of similar color through the rest of the scene.
 “F. Hopkinson Smith’s Water-Color Drawings,” by Edward Strahan, The Art Amateur, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Feb. 1883), pp. 62-64.
More information about this painting...
Collection, Boston, Massachusetts
To private collection, Boston, Massachusetts, 2000 to present
Inscribed lower left: Lucerne – July 82
Market under the Arches, Lucerne, Switzerland
by Francis Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915)
14 1/8 x 24 5/8 inches
Signed lower right: F. Hopkinson Smith1882