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Vincent Smith lectures at the University of Connecticut

 Digital Record


  • 1984 - 1990


Painter Vincent Smith delivered 5 lectures. Smith spoke on 1/24/1984 (2015-0002/RR269), 3/18/1986 (2015-0002/RR270), 3/24/1987 (2015-0002/RR271), 2/16/1988 (2015-0002/RR319) and 1/30/1990 (2015-0002/AC19). Smith was an American artist, painter, printmaker and teacher and known for his depictions of black life. Smith's work appeared in over 25 solo shows and 30 group exhibitions. His style was described as a bridge between Cubist and Abstract Expressionism.

Biographical / Historical

Vincent DaCosta Smith was born on December 12, 1929, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. He attended an integrated school where he studied piano and the alto sax. Smith worked a range of jobs before he became a full-time artist. At 16, he worked for the Lackawanna Railroad repairing tracks. At 17, Smith enlisted in the army and traveled with his brigade for a year. It wasn't until after his time in the army that Smith began to paint and printmaking. At the age of 22, Smith was working in a post office where he grew to be friends with fellow artist Tom Boutis. Tom Boutis took Smith to a Paul Cézanne show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1951. After seeing the Cézanne show, Smith resigned from his position at the post office and began reading extensively about art. He studied at the Art Students League of New York with Reginald Marsh. Later, he began to sit in on classes at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and studied painting, etching, and woodblock printmaking. After attending classes at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and the Art Students League of New York, he was accepted and received a scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where he studied from 1953 to 1956. Smith was a figurative painter who used abstractions and materiality to make something new. Smith's work depicts the rhythms and intricacies of black life through his prints and paintings. Many of his paintings and prints rely heavily on patterns. Smith has described his own work as "a marriage between Africa and the West." Over his life, he worked in both painting and printmaking. In 1959, Smith won the John Hay Whitney Fellowship which allowed him to travel to the Caribbean for a year. During this year he was deeply inspired by the customs and lifestyle of the native people. Throughout his life, Smith attended various art schools but it was not until turning 50 he returned to college to earn an official degree. From 1967 until 1976 he taught at the Whitney Museum’s Art Resource Center. Later in 1985, he taught printmaking at the Center for Art and Culture of Bedford Stuyvesant. Smith died in Manhattan on the December 27, 2003, at the age of 74 His work is included in many public museum collections including Art Institute of Chicago,[9] Newark Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery,[10] Davidson Art Center, Fitzwilliam Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, among others. [ /


4 Reels

1 Cassettes

Existence and Location of Originals

Original audio recordings reside in the University of Connecticut, Black Experience in the Arts Collection, Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US