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Don Smith headshot

“An artist? Well, perhaps. But actually I consider myself a painter first — one who is trying to use the rules unique to painting — ones we’ve had for the past three hundred years or so. These rules produce the form and so far have not been superseded. And it’s here — with the prevalent notion that the basis has changed — that we can so easily allow delusion to slip in. The struggle with this specific delusion is the discipline of painting.”

Don Smith, Professor Emeritus of Art at Rhode Island College, has taught painting, drawing, etching and the History of Asian Art. Professor Smith has also written and lectured on various aspects of modern and contemporary art. He has had special interest in the American painter, Edwin W. Dickinson (1889-1978), and also has given much attention to the work of Cezanne, the Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, and American painters Willem de Kooning and Sean Scully.

Born in Dexter, Missouri, Professor Smith attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he received two degrees in painting. In 1956 he was awarded a Delta Phi Delta National Honorary Art Award, and in 1957 a University Fellowship. In 1960 the artist accepted a position at Spiva Art Center, Southwest Missouri State University, and then in 1964 he and his family moved to Rhode Island where he began his teaching career at RI College, Providence, RI. Professor Smith has on numerous occasions lived and worked in Europe where on three occasions he was visiting Independent Artist at Santa Reparata Stamperia per Grafica in Florence, Italy. The painter has also been Visiting Artist and Lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University Summer School for Music and Visual Art, Brown University, Artist Union, Brooklyn College, Rhode Island School of Design, and Wheelock College, to give a short list.

The artist’s work is represented in over fifty public and private collections with a particularly large group held by Allan Stone Gallery in New York City. Since 1960 the artist’s paintings have been shown in more than sixty competitive and invitational shows, both solo and group. These shows include: Missouri Show, St Louis Art Museum; Springfield, Missouri Painting Annual; Providence Art Club; Boston Printmaker’s Annual; Davidson International; Rhode Island Painting Annual, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art; Wheeler and Iselin Galleries, Providence; Distinguished Alumni Show, Bingham Gallery, University of Missouri; and Allan Stone Gallery, New York City, etc.

Don Smith has been listed frequently in Who’s Who in America; Who’s Who in the East; Who’s Who in American Art; Art in America’s Annual Artist & Gallery Guide.

Equinox Video has produced a video documentary on the painter’s work and ideas, as expressed through a series of interviews with the artist, which is available for purchase. The artist currently resides with his wife, Joyce, in Johnston, RI where he maintains a professional studio. He is writing a text on the nature of painting entitled Painting: A Primer to be completed soon.