Francis Hopkinson Smith c. 1903
Courtesy of the Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons, LC-USZ62-98127
Francis Hopkinson Smith, author, artist and engineer, was a contemporary and intimate of many of the art masters of the 19th century and witness to the rapid development of 19th century through early 20th century art.
In 1914, Smith gave four lectures at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he talked about his methods, his views on realism (“detailism”) versus capturing one’s first impression, and art criticism of the day. The lectures, compiled in a book called Outdoor Sketching, is available for free download at Project Gutenberg.
Smith is at turns poetic, humorous, self-deprecating and insightful, although his take on Winslow Homer’s The Cotton Pickers is jarring to the 21st century reader.
Artists and art lovers alike will enjoy reading these lectures.