Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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Frederick Marlett Bell-Smith

September 26 1846 - June 23 1923

Society of Canadian Artists (Member 1868)
Ontario Society of Artists 1872 (President 1905-07)
Royal Canadian Adademy (Associate 1880, Full Member 1886)
Vancouver Art Association
Arts & Letters Club, Toronto 1908
Association of Water Colour Painters, Toronto 1912

Frederick Marlett Bell-Smith was born in London, England in 1846, He attended the South Kensington art school, and then the Colarossi Academie in Paris. He came to Canada in 1867, arriving in Montreal. He became a well-known portrait and landscape painter in Eastern Canada and in England.

He was one of the artists encouraged with free passes by the Canadian Pacific Railway to travel and paint in Western Canada. The railway knew that the scenery painted on those trips would encourage tourism and especially train travel. Bell-Smith came to B.C. shortly after the track was completed, and returned to paint a number of times in the Rockies and the Selkirk Mountains and on the coast.

He was one of the earliest artists to exhibit in Vancouver, and in 1890 had one painting in the First Annual Exhibition of the Vancouver Art Association.

Because he travelled at such an early date in British Columbia, and was a senior and highly skilled artist at the time, his paintings are now valuable historical records of the pioneer days in the province, typically painted in the accurate but somewhat atmospheric traditional English landscape style of the nineteenth century. He died in Toronto in 1923.

Exhibitions

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION LOCATION

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION ARTWORK
1890 October 6 - 11 V.A.A.   1st Annual Exhibition Canyon, Fraser River
1909 June 19 - July 17 Studio Club Exhibition of Pictures Beach, Coast of Maine
Study of Clouds
1909 Oct. - Nov. Studio Club Autumn Exhibition The Heart of the Empire
(also "many Old Country views")
1909 November BCSFA    Second Exhibition On the Bow River, Banff
1928 Sept. 3 - 8 ProvExh   8th Annual Salon A Tune of Long Ago
1932 May - July VAG   All Canadian Exhibition Canadian Forest Scene
1946 July 2 - 28 VAG   Jubilee Exhibition Hell's Gate Canyon
Peaceful Pastures


References - BIBLIOGRAPHY

Refer to BIBLIO.

References - GROUP EXHIBITIONS

A CENTURY OF CANADIAN ART
      1938 exhibition catalogue, The Tate Gallery, London, England; illustrated
      Only the fourth major group exhibition of Canadian artists ever held overseas

IMPRESSIONS OF AN AGE (refer to VCM69)

ARTISTS OVERLAND (refer to BAG80)

References - GENERAL

CANADIAN MEN AND WOMEN OF THE TIME by Henry James Morgan
      "A Handbook of Canadian Biography"
      1898, 1st Edition, published by William Briggs, Toronto, Ontario
      Brief biography of Bell-Smith

THE FINE ARTS IN VANCOUVER, 1886 - 1930 (refer to THOM)

EARLY PAINTERS AND ENGRAVERS IN CANADA (refer to H70)
      Includes extensive references to Bell-Smith.

CREATIVE CANADA - VOLUME TWO, by University of Toronto Press
      1972; ISBN 0-8020-3285-0
      Includes one full column of concise information about Bell-Smith

THE MOUNTAINS AND THE SKY by Lorne E. Render
      1974, Glenbow-Alberta Institute; published by McClelland and Stewart West
      ISBN 0-7712-1001-2; 224 pages, illustrated throughout in colour and b&w
      Includes biographical information on Bell-Smith and 3 of his paintings illustrated

ROYAL CANADIAN ACADEMY OF ARTS -
EXHIBITIONS & MEMBERS 1880 - 1979
(refer to RCA81)
Extensive five page exhibition listings for Bell-Smith.

ARTISTS IN CANADA 1982 - UNION LIST OF ARTISTS' FILES (refer to AIC82)

MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS -
SPRING EXHIBITIONS 1880 - 1970
(refer to MM88)

A DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN ARTISTS (refer to M)

BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF ARTISTS IN CANADA (refer to BIAC03)
      35 references cited for Bell-Smith.

THE BOW - LIVING WITH A RIVER, edited by Gerald T. Conaty
      Includes essays by G.T. Conaty, Daryl Betenia, Catharine Mastin
      2004; ISBN 1-55263-634-8; Glenbow Museum, published by Key Porter Books Ltd.
      160 pages, hardcover; extensively illustrated with artwork and historical photographs
      Includes essays, select artist biographies, art and general bibliographies, index
      Artwork by western artists includes Bell-Smith

TAMING THE FRONTIER: ART & WOMEN IN THE CANADIAN WEST 1880 - 1920
      July 2005; by Virgina G. Berry, copyright Margaret Berry and Julie Berry Melynk.
      188 pages softcover; illustrated, footnotes, bibliography, index
      Centered on Winnipeg, but has early references to Bell-Smith.

VISTAS: ARTISTS ON THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY (refer to GLEN09)

ART INSPIRED BY THE CANADIAN ROCKIES, PURCELL
MOUNTAINS AND SELKIRK MOUNTAINS 1809-2012
(refer to TOWN12)

Clippings

"Among the paintings are many fine pictures by Mr. F.M. Bell-Smith, R.C.A., including "The Heart of the Empire" and many Old Country views."
      "The Studio Club Autumn Exhibition"
      B.C. Saturday Sunset, October 30 1909

      "The subject of the picture by F.M. Bell-Smith, "The Heart of London," is from another world, and those who know London can see the truch embodied here. The brush of the artist has caught the softness which time has laid over the stones, the atmosphere which the breath of a mighty city has robbed of its brilliance. Life is seen here in many phases. It is London, essentially London."
      From "The City Art Gallery", by G.H. Lardner
      Museum and Art Notes, Vol. IV, No. 1. March 1929

"In 1867, John Bell-Smith, an English portrait painter, and his son F.M. Bell-Smith arrived in Montreal, where they settled for a short time before moving to Hamilton and later to Toronto. J. Bell-Smith was sixty-six years of age when he arrived in Canada and his son was twenty-one. This young man had studied painting in both London and Paris before emigrating to Canada, and was a conspicuous and picturesque figure in Canadian art circles for fifty-six years. His best work was undoubtedly his Rocky Mountain sketches, although he painted a number of street scenes with figures, particularly of London, and the haunts of Dickens, subjects which had a strong attraction for him."
      From Canadian Landscape Painters, Albert H. Robson; page 54
      The Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1932


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