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    Description

    CARL J. SMITH (American, b. 1928)
    Grandmother
    Oil on masonite
    24 x 36 inches (61.0 x 91.4 cm)
    Signed lower right: Carl J. Smith

    The grandson of an itinerant Texas preacher, Carl J. Smith specializes in atmospheric Victorian scenes of homesteaders on the Panhandle plains. He was born in Kress, Texas, in 1928 and after graduating from West Texas State University in 1952, taught art for over a decade in Portales, New Mexico. Smith's own pioneer family inspires his romanticized views of the past: "I have an obsession about my childhood. The memories of those times are hazy. My paintings have that dream-like quality about them." In order to create his sweeping, earth-toned Panhandle landscapes, Smith relies not on photographs or preliminary sketches, but rather on symphonic music playing in his Canyon, Texas, studio. Featured in numerous Texas private collections, his work has been exhibited in twenty-four one-man shows, including one at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa.

    Grandmother
    , The Farm, and The Peddler exemplify a recurrent Smith theme: the isolation, self-reliance, and compassion for late nineteenth-century women on the West Texas plains. Each painting examines a woman or girl dutifully performing chores - paring apples, churning butter, sampling a peddler's wares - for the benefit of the household while the men are absent. Smith includes cats or dogs and multiple generations of family in order to underscore this domestic harmony. "Caring counts," he said. "I deliberately soften the harsh realities of the time with the overriding kindness people had for one another." Whereas the work, perhaps a tribute to James McNeill Whistler's The Artist's Mother, depicts a cozy cabin interior, The Farm and The Peddler focus on the homestead exterior, positioning it as a dollhouse-like element within the barren and dusty land. Smith adds household props to these settings that evoke narratives: for example, in The Farm, a grouping of washboard, tub, barrel, and jug, as well as a saddle hanging on the porch rail, suggest completed work.


    Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000.

    Condition Report*: Very good condition, possibly revarnished.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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