The Middleton Oak and Rice Fields with Josephine Smith Painting
“The Middleton Oak and Rice Fields with Josephine Smith”
2 sizes: 8" X 10", 14.5" X 18"
A lifelong Charleston resident with limited professional training, Alice Smith forged her style from a wide range of sources—her French teacher at the local Carolina Art Association, mentors who introduced her to Tonalism and Japanese woodblock prints, and extensive fieldwork. In a career of sixty years, she defied gender expectations and gained national acclaim.
Descended from prominent rice planters, Alice’s work reflects a reverence for nature and nostalgia for an idealized past. She helped spark Charleston’s historic preservation movement, depicted the waning days of rice planting, and captured the mystical spirit of the Lowcountry’s coast, marshes, and woodlands in luminous watercolors.
Alice was one of the principal guiding lights of an invigorating cultural change that flourished between the twentieth century’s two world wars called the Charleston Renaissance. In recent years, this artistic and cultural movement has been reexamined for its elitist perspective and romanticized view of Charleston and the city’s fraught history. Alice’s story raises important questions about historical memory and the forces that shaped Charleston into the city it is today.