American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Landscape Gem by Hudson River School Successor
Artist Name:     George Henry Smillie
Artist Dates:      1840-1921    
Late Afternoon in CT
Painting Date:     1888 ca.
  Oil on Canvas    Signature:          Signed Lower Left     Provenance:       Private Collection 
Very Good  
Size Unframed:  16 x 25 
Frame Condition:
Mint Reproduction
Artist Best Price: $42,000
Offered At:        
Curator's Comments: Painting in the Nineteenth Century, George Henry Smillie perfectly captures the mood of the Hoagy Carmichael favorite, "Up a Lazy River" whose lyrics surely reflect the artist's accomplishment: "Up a lazy river by the old mill run / That lazy, lazy river in the noon day sun / You can linger in the shade of that fine ole tree / Throw, away your troubles, baby, dream with me." Even the ducks remain as still as the skiff whose occupants we imagine are resting somewhere beneath the twisted old tree at the left. Smillie has given us a painting of peace, of the river resting after powering the saw mills and grist mills with their source ponds that lined its banks during the national cataclysm that ended with the North's victory in the Civil War. Smillie frequently painted the Titicus (from the Mohican name Mutighticoss which the English settlers shortened to Metiticus and then to Titicus--though Titichus was common in the 1860s, when Smillie painted), which rises in Ridgefield. It is his repeated quest for perfection that has resulted in the masterpiece we are pleased to offer. But note that Smillie received his early artistic training from his father, James H. Smillie (1807-1885), an engraver by trade, whose specialty was turning the masterpeces of the Hudson River School into prints. Additionally, the young Smillie later studied with artist James McDougal Hart (1828-1901), one of the greate Hudson River School masters, who instilled in him the importance of attention to detail that became an inherent part of George Smillie’s compositions. During the nineteenth century, Smillie’s works were regarded as “highly finished” with their “creditable” realism.
   George Henry Smillie 
    in his Studio ca. 1900
The Mill Pond at Ridgefield
          Sold for $18,400
A member of one of the most active and influential families in the art circles of New York City, George Smillie (the Scots name should be pronounced to rhyme with Millie) was acquainted at an early age with his father's many engraved translations from such American landscapists as Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, and Jasper Cropsey. He studied in Europe on two occasions, which loosened his brushwork. But in 1871, Smillie made a trip to the Rocky Mountains and the Yosemite Valley of California. And his masterpiece oil of "Half Dome," is his most important single work, accounting for his highest subsequent price. Smillie also traveled to Florida to paint, but for most of his life he lived and worked in New York, the White Mountains, and Connecticut--with Ridgefield a favorite location as in his title for our work--which is taken from his original sales label. And note that in November of 1870 the New York Herald said his works…"do infinite credit to him in their carefully finished execution and in the understanding of the subject…A certain refinement runs through all his artistic work, no matter what the subject. It enhances the charm of his more quiet scenes, modifies, without losing the character of bolder, wilder views.”

Smillie exhibited extensively during his lifetime at almost every major U.S. venue including the Boston Athenaeum, the Salmagundi Club, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Corcoran. He exhibited almost every year at the National Academy of Design from 1862 to 1921, becoming a full academician in 1876. He was honored with a medal  from the Society of American Artists in 1907. His work can be found in the Smithsonisn, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and the Crystal Bridges museum. In 1881, Smillie married Nellie Jacobs, a genre painter who had been a student of his brother James, and for many years the three shared a studio in suburban Bronxville. He died in Bronxville in 1921.
Home by the River
also shows the Titicus
The river as it nears
  New York State            
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