Description: We offer an exceptional watercolor portrait of a Martiniquais woman by May Mott Smith. The painting is 24” x 20” on thick paper board and housed in a period frame with the outside dimensions 29” x 25”. It is signed in the lower right “May Mott Smith” and inscribed on verso “a Martinique native in French Guiana.” Item #FA00216.
A regal looking Martiniquais woman dressed in boldly patterned textiles and gold jewelry gazes off to the right of the picture; her likeness captured with empathic and skillful technique by Mott Smith. 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 are a few minor surface marks/abrasions mostly around the perimeter of the painting, but it retains bright colors and remains in good condition overall. The corners of the frame are bumped and chipped.