Jack Wilkinson Smith was born in Paterson, New Jersey on Feb. 7, 1873. His father was an artist and is known for painting some of the decorations in the Capitol Building in Albany, New York. In his teens, Smith studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and also under artist George Gardner Symons in Chicago. The artist later worked as a commercial artist in Lexington, Kentucky and went on to become a sketch artist with the Cincinnati Enquirer.
While in Cincinnati, he studied painting at the Art Academy under Frank Duveneck. During the Spanish-American War, his sketches of the front-line gained him substantial recognition. In 1906 he settled in Alhambra, California and established a studio-home in the eucalyptus grove called “Artists Alley” where his neighbors included Eli Harvey, Frank Tenney Johnson, and summer-resident Norman Rockwell.
Smith was largely responsible for establishing the Biltmore Salon which exhibited and sold paintings by local artists. He also helped to found the Sketch Club and was an inaugural member of the California Art Club and the Laguna Beach Art Association.
In the Midwest, Smith had worked in watercolor, however, upon moving to Los Angeles he focused on oil painting. During the Great Depression, the artist worked for Pacific Outdoor Advertising. An Impressionist artist, he traveled throughout the state in search of subject matter. He is best known for his paintings of Sierra landscapes, seascapes and missions.
Smith was also a member of a select group of artists known as the “Ten Painters Club of California”. They held exhibitions at the Kanst Art Galleries in Los Angeles and promoted as the ten foremost artists of the west; the other members included: Maurice Braun, Benjamin Brown, R. Clarkson Colman, Edgar Payne, Hanson Puthuff, Guy Rose, Elmer Wachtel, Marion Wachtel and William Wendt.
Jack Wilkinson Smith had a flair for entertaining and was very popular as a civic leader. He died in Monterey Park, California on Jan. 8, 1949.
1913-1919 California Art Club
1914 Sketch Club, Los Angeles, CA
1915 Bronze & Silver Medal, Panama-California Exposition, San Diego
1915 Friday Morning Club, Los Angeles, CA
1917-1919 Medals, California State Fair
1918 Award, California Liberty Fair, Los Angeles, CA
1918 Solo Exhibition, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
1920 2nd Prize, Phoenix Exposition
1922 1st prize, Phoenix Exposition
1922 Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1922 Women’s Club, Hollywood, CA
1924-1929 Gold Medals, Painters of the West
1925 Ebell Club, Los Angeles, CA
1932-1941 Biltmore Salon, Los Angeles, CA
1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, CA
Academy of Western Painters
Allied Art Association
California Art Club (President 1920-1921)
California Watercolor Society
Laguna Beach Art Association
Salmagundi Club, New York, New York
Sketch Club of Los Angeles