Henry Pember Smith (1854-1907)


An accomplished realist who painted with a precise and skillful use of existing light, he is believed to have been an entirely self-taught. Born in 1854 in Waterford, Connecticut, little is known about his past until he set up studio in 1877 in downtown New York City. He regularly exhibited with the National Academy of Design from this point on through his career.

Known works of the northeast American coast from northern Maine to southern Rhode Island by the artist exist. He also is well known for painting landscapes, mostly of rustic homesteads located by steams and ponds, with ever-present trees. He did travel internationally, visiting the United Kingdom and Italy extensively in the 1880s, and produced views of both sides of the English channel and of the waterways and villas of Venice.

His style evokes subtle dramas, with natural elements taking the forefront while his occasional humans are used in secondary roles. His works exhibit careful thought to composition and color, with architectural structures often prominent in his paintings as well. He left the towers of NYC for the serenity of Asbury Park, New Jersey in the last years of his career.