36: O/C USS Princeton by R.G. Smith, Cover of book
Oil on canvas by the distinguished Naval & Aviation painter "RG" Smith.
This painting is the cover illustration for the book Carrier Down, The Sinking of the U.S.S.Princeton (CVL23) by Thomas I. Bradshaw and Marsha L. Clark. This book is included with the sale of this painting(see picture)as well as Smith's autobiography, some covers of the U. S. Naval Institute magazine from the 70's and 80's featuring R.G. Smith paintings and other related printed material. A letter discussing R. G. Smith for lending his painting to the cover of Carrier Down will also accompany this lot(see images of two sided letter).
Smith's works are held by the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian, Pentagon and others both private and public.
The R.G. Smith Award for "excellence in naval aviation art" is awarded annually to a single artist at the National Museum of Naval Aviation during its annual May symposium in Pensacola, Florida. The Museum's Foundation selects the recipient. The award is a career honor, similar to a lifetime achievement award. Smith was the first to receive this award and it is named in his honor.
ARTIST: Robert G. Smith, American 1914 -2001
WORK DATE: 20th c.
MATERIALS: Oil on canvas
SIZE: 24" x 36" plus frame
In 1996 the Smithsonian Museum held an exhibit of Smith's work and an article for that exhibit follows:
The 'Old Master' of the Sky," an aviation art exhibition featuring 25 elegant paintings and drawings by renowned artist Robert Grant "R.G" Smith, opens March 24 at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, (Independence Avenue and Seventh Street S.W). The exhibition continues through Sept. 5.
The exhibit, located on the second floor opposite the Apollo to the Moon gallery, captures the inspiring evolution of flight, from the era of wood and fabric aircraft to the age of Supersonic Transports. Offering a unique view of military and commercial aircraft and spacecraft, R.G. Smith's paintings capture on canvas the fleeting moments normally only experienced by those who fly.
"Among the fraternity of artists who have recorded the history of flight on canvas, R.G. Smith is regarded by many as the American master," says Tom Crouch, senior curator in the museum's Aeronautics Division.
His paintings and prints can be found in museums and private collections, in the wardrooms of naval vessels, on the walls of the Pentagon and countless military installations, and in congressional and corporate offices. Two tours as a combat artist in Vietnam and trips to naval units around the world have led to his designation as an "Honorary Naval Aviator," a distinction awarded to few civilians. Jimmie Doolittle and Bob Hope are among the recipients of this honor.
Born in 1914 in Los Angeles, R.G. Smith developed an immediate lifelong love of aviation following Charles Lindbergh's successful solo crossing of the Atlantic in 1927 in the Spirit of St. Louis. Smith began his career in 1936 as an engineer with Douglas Aircraft. While helping to design such classic naval aircraft as the SBD Dauntless, AD Skyraider, A-3D Skywarrior, F-4D Skyray, and his personal favorite, the A-4D Skyhawk, Smith also was developing a reputation as a respected artist. When asked to draw or paint for aircraft proposals, he used his knowledge of airplane construction and function to give life to the aircraft in his artworks.
According to R.G. Smith, the three essential elements in his approach to painting are accuracy, planning and the power of suggestion. To ensure accuracy, Smith studied the desired scene or event, viewed his subjects from all angles, collected paint chips from aircraft, and in some cases, actually observed aircraft in combat and at sea. He planned each piece by sketching the aircraft from several angles before painting them on the canvas, occasionally using models that he built as guides. Instead of painting every bolt and rivet, Smith blends colors to add motion and subtlety to harsh lines, allowing the eye and brain of the viewers to connect the dots and lines. The result is a sense of reality, atmosphere, and energy.
R.G. Smith has created some 2,000 paintings and drawings on a variety of subjects, but he is best known as an artist of naval aviation. He has received several awards during his illustrious career, including Salmagundi Club's Louis E. Seley Award for "outstanding achievement in the field of oil painting"; the Fighting Hawk Award for "countless, enduring contributions to the art, science and safety of U.S. Marine Corps Aviation"; the American Society of Aviation Artists Franklin Mint Award; and the U. S. Naval Institute Award of Merit. In 1979, the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron named him an Honorary Blue Angel. In 1994, he became the first recipient of the R.G. Smith Award -- named in his honor-- by the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Fla.
In 1996, R.G. Smith ended his painting career. He lives in Rancho Mirage, Calif., with his wife Betty.
Smith died in 2001.