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by William Harold Smith

Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 26.5 x 35.5
Purchased through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1971

Evening by William Harold Smith

The Artwork

The poetically softened realism in Evening is an example of the style of painting known as Regionalism that had been very popular in America for about a decade preceding this painting's execution. Through the planes of color in the trees to perspective of the architectural elements in the foreground, William Harold Smith defines depth. Through the artist's use of red in this predominantly blue and green canvas, the artist focuses the viewer's attention on the three figures in the foreground.

The Artist

William Harold Smith was born in 1900 in Casselton, North Dakota. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. A former student of famous artist Alexander Archipenko, Smith taught at the University of Oklahoma, where he was Professor Emeritus of Art.

Smith’s painting
Evening is inspired by the influence of the Regionalism movement, a realist modern American art movement popular during the 1930s. The artistic focus was from artists who shunned the city life and rapidly developing technological advances to create scenes of rural life. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Regionalist art was widely appreciated for its reassuring images of the American heartland. Regionalist style was at its height from 1930 to 1935, and is best known through the so-called "Regionalist Triumvirate" which included Grant Wood in Iowa, Thomas Hart Benton in Missouri, and John Steuart Curry in Kansas. Smith continued to draw from its influence even into the ‘40s, resulting in his own regionalist-inspired interpretation in Oklahoma.