Yeteve Smith (1888 - 1957)
Sewing in the Garden, c. 1925
Oil on canvas
34 x 27 inches
Signed lower right: Yeteve Smith
Arts & Crafts style frame
Robert and Rose Hume Mazo
[Keny Galleries, Columbus, Ohio]
Yeteve Smith, a painter of modernist portraits and landscapes, was born in Columbus, Ohio. She studied at The Ohio State University, and her strong, unfussy works executed in the twenties and thirties reveal her aesthetic kinship with George Bellows.
Smith was a member of the Columbus Art League, where she won several prizes in the late 1920s, and the Ohio Watercolor Society. She developed her reputation based on her figure paintings and portraits, along with a modern style of vivid color and strong, simplified form.
Her works can be found in the collections of the Canal Winchester Historical Society and Capital University’s Schumacher Gallery.
Influenced by her contemporary and fellow Columbus, Ohio native George Bellows, Yeteve Smith broke many traditions to become a truly modern female artist. After studying art in Berlin, Washington, D. C., and New York, she returned to Ohio, where she became known for her bold use of color in the portraits she created of everyone from the gentile ladies of Columbus' upper crust to the city's poorer working class.
Regardless of the subject, a deep sense of empathy and emotion suffuses all of Smith's canvases. The woman depicted in Smith's 1925 composition, Sewing in the Garden, represents Columbus' youngest generation of ladies of leisure. She appears as a modern woman, complete with the bobbed hair, mary-jane heels, and doll-like makeup that defined the style of the 1920s. Though her looks probably shocked Columbus' older society, Smith shows her in a positive and beautiful light.
A common theme in American Scene painting, Smith's young woman seems to enjoy the quiet solitude offered by her intensely lush surroundings, with the stepping stones offering the opportunity for a quick exit to a more exciting environment.