Jules Andre Smith, Maitland, Florida, 

*Jules Andre Smith was born, of American parents, in Hong Kong, 1880. He came to the United States at the age of ten and attended school in Boston and New York City. Smith received a Master of Science degree in architecture from Cornell and used a traveling fellowship to study in Europe from 1904 to 1906.

During World War I he was the first of eight artists appointed by the government, to be sent to France to record the activities of the American Expeditionary Forces. After the war he received a commission to design the Distinguished Service Cross and published a book containing one hundred of his drawings entitled, In France with the American Expeditionary Forces.

In the early 1930’s Smith became a winter resident of Maitland, Florida, where he met Annie Russell, a New York actress, and Professor of Theater Arts at Rollins College in Winter Park. Smith designed sets for the productions Miss Russell directed at the Annie Russell Theatre, which Mary Curtis Bok donated to Rollins, in honor of her close friend. In 1937 Andre Smith added a gallery to his Maitland Studio when Mrs. Bok offered as a gift, “a laboratory studio to be devoted to research in modern art,” this soon expanded to the Research Studio, a building complex which housed studios, and living quarters for artists, used for five to seven months each winter season. It was one of only three art galleries in the state of Florida. Among the artists who lived and worked there were Ralston Crawford, David Burlick, Ernest Roth, Milton Avery, Arnold Blanch, Doris Lee, and Harold McIntosh.

The St. Petersburg Times, January 19, 1958, carried the following on Smith when he exhibited at the Sprague Gallery, “Today at 77 Smith is an abstract painter. His use of rectilinear shapes and the quality and symbolism in his nature-derived forms show a deep regard for Central American and Mayan styles. His participation in the new art movement dates from 1912, and in 1935 his experiments in ‘automatic transcription’ led to his book, Art and the Subconscious.”

Jules Andre Smith, watercolor 11 3/4 by 16 1/2 inches. Signed lower left.

From 1937 to his death in 1959, Smith was Director of the Research Studio in Maitland, and oversaw the activities in its studios and galleries. The property was purchased by the City of Maitland in 1969, and is entered on the National Register of Historic Places.

*From the official brochure of the Maitland Art Center.

Born: 1880, Hong Kong, China. Died: 1959, Maitland, Florida. Education: Cornell University, College of Architecture. Membership: Society of American Etchers; Orlando Art Association, Honorary Member. Exhibits: Pan-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915, Gold Medal; Fine Prints of The Year, 1931; Art Club of St. Petersburg, one man show, December 1950; Sprague Art School Gallery, St. Petersburg, January 1958, twenty-five oil and lacquer paintings. Work: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Baltimore Museum of Art; Academy of Arts, Honolulu. Directory: Listed in the Orlando City Directory in 1937 as an artist.

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