Description: We offer an original oil painting by May Mott Smith of two men playing checkers. It is painted in oil on canvas wrapped board, 12” x 10”, and signed and titled on verso in graphite: “Game of Checkers by May Mott Smith, $45.” Housed in a vintage frame measuring 18 ½” x 16 ½”. Item #FA00217.
Mott Smith creates a palpable atmosphere and energy with an Ashcan School sensibility in this depiction of two working class men playing checkers. Though the palate is neutral and muted, the two gents are practically animated by Mott Smith's hurried, confident brushstrokes. May Mott Smith was an American author, artist and jewelry designer. She was born in 1879, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of John Mott-Smith. Her father was a prominent Hawaiian politician, one of the first dentists to set up a practice on the island, editor of the Hawaiian Gazette and advocate for the monarchy before the United Stated took over. Mott Smith studied in Paris at the Academy Colarossi and later traveled extensively in areas most western women wouldn’t dare. She wrote popular travelogues including: Africa from Port to Port and On the Klayber to Kabul. The Jamaican Gleaner mentioned her in 1934 stating that she is: “One of the select few women who have invaded Devil’s Isle in Cayenne, the French convict settlement.” Mott Smith was married three times; her married surnames were Small, Cunningham and Bird. Her exhibits include the Saint Louis Exposition, the Pan-California Exposition, and Pan Pacific Exposition. She died in 1952.
Condition: There is some paint loss along the left side in the light beige background, not affecting the main figures.