Houghton Cranford Smith (1887 - 1983)
Provincetown, c. 1912
Oil on board
10 x 10 inches
Signed at lower left: Houghton Cranford Smith
Born in Arlington, New Jersey in 1887, Houghton Cranford Smith was encouraged by his family from an early age to pursue a creative career. He studied at the Nantucket School of Design and the Art Students League in New York where he studied with George Bridgman, William Merritt Chase and Kenneth Hayes Miller.
He visited Provincetown during the summer of 1908, and became deeply involved in the early stages of the art colony. As a student, he acquired critical skills in color theory and composition from Charles Webster Hawthorne at Hawthorne's Cape Cod School of Art and from E. Ambrose Webster. In his memoir, The Provincetown I Remember, Smith relates how E. Ambrose Webster led him to a new way of dealing with color that went beyond Hawthorne's approach, revealing a Post-Impressionist color theory that Webster had gained from his study of Monet and exposure to the work of Melchers and Hitchcock.
Smith then left for France, where he studied with Andre Lhote and other respected artists of the time. In Paris in 1930, he began studying under Amédée Ozenfant, who along with Le Corbusier had developed a variation on Cubism called Purism. Decisively converted, Smith returned to New York, where he applied this machinelike style to the creation of pastoral landscapes.
During his lifetime Smith traveled throughout Spain, Chile, Bermuda and across the United States. His work appears in private and public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the Butler Institute of American Art, Greenville County Museum of Art, and Spartanburg Art Museum.