Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Over his career, William A. Smith developed a remarkable collection of friends and acquaintances.  He knew artists such as Joan Miro and Ben Shahn.  As the president of UNESCO's International Association of Art (with members in 70 different countries), he traveled and connected with artists all around the world.  He was also president of the American Watercolor Society, and socialized with artists, writers and performers as a member of the famed Dutch Treat Club.

He sketched many of these people at events or informal settings:

The great poet Carl Sandburg was a good friend of Smith's
Sandburg's hands

Duke Ellington
Burl Ives
Radio celebrity Henry Morgan
British illustrator Paul Hogarth

Artist Adolf Dehn

Band leader Paul Whiteman

Smith's sketchbooks are filled with dozens and dozens of faces, hands, even shoes of creative people he met along the way.  One of the things I enjoy most about these portraits is that they were not illustrations commissioned by a client, but rather purely personal works reflecting the international camraderie of the artistic community.