Vintage large oil painting on canvas of a figurative Nude Female nude signed lower right Lois Gross c. 1950 painted before her marriage to
Dr. Douglas G. Smiley. Measuring 32" x 50" In excellent vintage condition.
LOIS GROSS SMILEY (American, born 1925, died 2019)
Lois Gross Smiley was an abstract expressionist who specialized in landscape, still life and figural painting in oils and pastels. Born and raised in New York City, Smiley’s artistic training coincided with the emergence of the New York abstract expressionist and gestural abstraction painting movement.
Born in New York City in 1925, Smiley attended the prestigious Dalton School in New York’s upper east side, where she studied under two prominent artists: the well-known Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo and the abstract expressionist Vaclav Vytlacil. Tamayo, who is considered a figural abstractionist, also taught Helen Frankenthaler at Dalton. Vaclav Vytlacil co-founded the American Abstract Artist Group, the predecessor of the New York School and Abstract Expressionism that contributed to the development and acceptance of abstract art in the United States.
After Dalton School, Smiley went on to major in painting at Sarah Lawrence College where she received her Bachelor of Art degree in 1946. While at Sarah Lawrence, she studied drawing and painting and art history with Kurt Roesch a German born expressionist who showed and was represented by the prominent Curt Valentin gallery. In Manhattan Smiley also studied etching and engraving with Stanley William Hayter at his famed atelier 17 and Japanese woodblock printing with Bill Paden.
Smiley’s work can be described as combining Cubist-inspired spatial concerns with an expressionistic approach to line and color. She worked in oils, pastels and watercolor and said of her work “Although my paintings seem abstract, each has a subject that derives from nature, felt and observed. I hope to arrive at an essence strong enough to evoke a shared recognition with the viewer.”
In addition to painting, Smiley worked at the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers as the Assistant Curator of Exhibitions from 1970-1973. She taught drawing and painting in her New York studios from 1964-1990. In 1960 and 1976, Smiley received awards for watercolors she exhibited at the National Association of Women Artists held at the National Academy, New York City. She had her first solo exhibition in 1962 at the Riverdale Neighborhood House, New York and another at the Carlton Gallery, New York in 1976. In 1972, she participated in the Hudson River Museum juried group show and in 1978 she was invited to participate in the Bronx Museum of Arts “Arte, Arte, Kunst” exhibition. Smiley was a member of the National Art Association, The National Association of Women Artists, and the Cambridge and Concord Art Associations.
In 1951, Lois Gross married Dr. Douglas G. Smiley by whom she had two daughters. She moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts in 1991 after her husband died to be near her daughter. She quickly became part of the New England art community, teaching drawing at the Cambridge Art Association and the Concord Art Association, where she also exhibited. She showed at the Danforth Museum Framingham, Ma where she received the directors’ award for best in show. In 1993, she held a solo exhibition at the Harvard Neighbors Gallery in Cambridge and from 1987-1996; she showed many exhibitions at Douglas Parker’s “On the Vineyard Gallery.”
Smiley maintained a studio in Wellesley. She showed and was represented by the Art In Giving Gallery, where 50% of the sales of her paintings went to help fight childhood cancer. In an interview, Smiley spoke of the importance of using the finest quality materials in her work. She used linen canvas, which she stretched herself and made her own frames and also made her own pastel sticks. Many of her paintings are in private and corporate collections