Smith, Mary Russell – American Artist

Mary Russell Smith (1842 to 1878)

Born at Rockhill, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 1842, Mary Russell Smith, a member of the famous Smith family of painters, was destined to be an artist from an early age. Indeed she completed her first oil painting when only aged 14 and was encouraged by her parents, Russell Smith and Mary Priscilla Wilson Smith, to become a professional artist.

Mary’s other childhood passion was raising poultry and this subsequently translated into the subject matter of her paintings. Such works, frequently exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, became much sought after in Philadelphia and even as far afield as England.

Sadly she never enjoyed robust health and died tragically early in 1878 aged only 36. Her legacy was some three hundred paintings.

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