Watercolor on paper, 9 1/2" by 13 3/4" (16 1/2" by 20 1/2" as framed), the subject a 19th century shipwreck engulfed by waves on what appears to be an ocean beach, some tiny sails visible on the distant horizon. The watercolor is signed at lower left by the listed Ohio and Pennsylvania artist RUFUS WAY SMITH (1840-1900). Smith was a talented artist, judging from the relatively few works that have circulated in the marketplace over the years. Now unfortunately obscure, he is most closely associated with the Cleveland, Ohio area, though he painted in New England, Pennsylvania, New Orleans, and possibly even California, where he died, in Los Angeles, on November 9, 1900. Interestingly, the watercolor was found here in Los Angeles. Smith was an attorney with a family who abandoned a successful law career in order to pursue his passion for art. He is known to have exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and was a prominent member of the Cleveland Art Club. Oils and watercolors by Smith include coastals, landscapes, genre and still life, many in the Hudson River tradition. This example reminds me of works by such artists as Alfred Thompson Bricher, William Trost Richards, Edward Moran, George Howell Gay, and other American artists of the second half of the nineteenth century. Condition is excellent, the colors not faded. The old and possibly original frame exhibits some light wear but you would not have to replace it. There is a very old early century Raymond & Gould Arts/Los Angeles, Cal. circular label still adhering and readable on the reverse. **Allow for reflections in a number of images, especially the diagonal lines at lower left corner---just reflections.** .
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