Francis Hopkinson Smith, born Baltimore, MD 1838-died New York City 1915
Francis Hopkinson "Hop" Smith spent almost every summer painting in Venice between the 1880s and the end of his life, quickly finding friends among its growing community of American artists and art collectors. Specializing in watercolors, he typically created large and detailed images of canals and modest buildings, celebrating Venice's everyday beauty. Unlike the gestural, expressive styles of Sargent and Whistler, Smith chose a more controlled approach that conveys tranquility. He also published accounts of his journeys, writing in an accessible voice and illustrating these with reproductions of his watercolors. This scene of a bridge near the Public Garden, on the city's western tip, appeared in his 1895 collection Venice of To-Day. That same year Venice launched the first of its Biennale art fairs, which continue to this day in special pavilions in these gardens, just paces from this bridge.
Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano, 2021.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Laura Dreyfus Barney and Natalie Clifford Barney in memory of their mother, Alice Pike Barney
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opaque watercolor and pastel over graphite on paper
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