Gladys Nelson Smith American, 1890-1980


Gladys Nelson Smith was an artist of surprising versatility. Her enduring search for styles that aptly reflected her subject as well as her own interior vision included florals, landscapes, portraits and maternal themes: she also stepped into a realm not ordinarily attempted by female artists of the period by depicting black subject matter.


As with singular artists who have their own vision and distinctive styles, her work is not aligned with any particular school of painting. To compare Smith to her contemporaries would be futile as she did not look to others for inspiration or validation. The wealth of unique content and expression in her work came from within.


A tribute to her enduring talent and lifetime of creative achievement occurred in 1985 when the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. held a retrospective of her work.


Society of Washington Artists

Art League of Washington


State Normal School, Emporia, Kansas, 1916-17

Kansas Free Fair, Topeka, KS, 1921, 1927

Society of Washington Artists, Washington, D.C, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1932-37, 1939-41, 1943

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, 1927, 1929, 1933, 1935-37, 1985 (solo)

National Gallery of Art (now National Museum of American Art), 1928, 1936

Topeka Art Guild Galleries, 1930

Anderson Gallery, 1932

Virginia Polytechnical Institute, 1932

Art League of Washington, 1933

N.S.I.A, Washington, D.C, 1933

Arts Club, Washington, D.C, 1934

Greater Washington Annual Independent Art Exhibit, 1935

Veerhoff Galleries, Washington, D.C, 1979 (solo)

Museums and Public Collections

Butler Institute of American Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Spencer Museum of Art

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