GEORGE MELVILLE SMITH

 

GEORGE MELVILLE SMITH was born in Chicago on May 12, 1879, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and in Paris. He has painted in France, Spain, England and Italy and sketched in the New England and mid-western states in the United States. He is a member of the Chicago Society of Artists, the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists and The Arts Club. His work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and in Chicago Society of Artists shows. He was awarded the Fine Arts Building Purchase Prize of 1932 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

When I glance back at my work as a painter, I find it hard to explain to myself how my few canvases struggled into existence. What I recall mainly is an urge that kept driving and driving and that would not be downed by the great pressure which making a living imposed upon me. I am able to go over with pleasure to re-live, indeed-the heightened hours which I tore away from the general round of duty to yield to the driving need to paint. That was a period of self-instruction. But it was more than that also. It was then that I experienced for the first time the inward satisfaction which comes from relating the phenomena around one with one's self and giving form to it in painting. Following this there opened up for me a wonderful opportunity for a sojourn in Europe and complete freedom from the need, for the time being, of working for a livelihood. For nearly two years I absorbed the great art of Italy, France and Spain. New worlds opened for me and my hopes and ideals rose higher and higher. During this same period, I found time also to study at Lhote's School in Paris. Now, though, obviously, three months is a short term of study, this schooling did me a world of good because it helped me greatly to assimilate what I had seen and absorbed in my previously mentioned excursions among the art treasures of Italy, France and Spain. This schooling enabled me to assimilate all this and make it, in part at least, my own. The same schooling also carried me into the realm of so-called modern art, in which realm I have been a humble worker ever since. When I did the comparatively few canvases which I have thus far been able to produce, it was not with the end in view of exhibiting them. But I have received encouragement and my work has been publicly exhibited. As to its value, however, and whether it is a contribution to art and society, I would rather that others should decide. George Melville Smith.