|Description: We offer an original oil painting, unsigned, but most assuredly by May Mott Smith. It is painted in oil on cardboard measuring 10 ½” x 14 ½” and housed in a rustic frame (17” x 21”). This was purchased as part of a group of works by Smith, most signed on recto and verso. This is probably signed on the verso, but some overzealous framer has glued the pasteboard to a piece of foamcore. Item #PR00221.
A man ponders over two white kufi hats at a snappily dressed shopkeeper’s booth. Mott Smith has used a vivid royal blue as a ground for her painting, it sneaks through nearly all the forms she has rendered, lending the painting an ultraviolet, otherworldly feel.
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: This painting is laid down to foam core. There is a thin 1” area of paint loss in the lower left of the painting and some scattered surface abrasions. Generally good condition, and visually arresting.