Can anybody tell me about an artist named J.L. Smith?
June 13, 2005 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Can anybody tell me anything at all about an artist named J.L. Smith?

Back in the early 90's, I purchased an original painting at a hotel art auction. This would have been in Omaha, Nebraska though I imagine this company traveled from city to city. The name of the work is "Circle in Teal", and it looks from the signature as if the name of the artist is J.L. Smith. It's an abstract acrylic on paper.

The auction company promised to send me more information about the artist, but they never did. I would like to learn more about this person, and see more of their work.

I've found this person, but it looks like such a dramatically different style, I assume it's a different J.L. Smith.

I've posted a picture of the painting, and a blurry close-up of the signature.
posted by willnot to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
A search on doesn't turn up anything, and they have quite a comprehensive database. I guess it would be easier if you knew what the initials stood for.

Looking at it, my guess is that he was a commercial artist who has probably moved onto whatever style is selling nowadays and may even be using a different name. The painting definitely looks "of it's time."
posted by fire&wings at 7:47 AM on June 13, 2005

did you remove those links? none of them work for me...
posted by mdn at 8:49 AM on June 13, 2005

The links are screwed up. Just take off the quotation mark (or %22) at the end and they'll work.
posted by iconomy at 9:05 AM on June 13, 2005

gracias, iconomy.
The styles don't look so dramatically different to me (both are clean and professional and not dramatically individual) that it wouldn't be worth shooting off an email to the JL Smith you've found. It's possible he could tell you about other JL Smiths, too, as he might have been asked enough to have become familiar...

there's a landscape painting on ebay by a JL Smith, perhaps another one, and there's a joseph lindon smith who died in 1950 who was at least affiliated with abstract artists.

But ultimately, that auction company owes you information. I'd harass them.
posted by mdn at 10:28 AM on June 13, 2005

I always assumed the art sold at those hotel auctions were mass produced things.. like there was some factory in thailand that churned out these things, hand painted of course, several each week...

My mall had an art store like this that consisted of globes stenciled on black canvas with an airbrush, with paint splatter over them. Looked very assembly-line to me.
posted by quibx at 10:59 AM on June 13, 2005

On this page, there's the JL Smith you mentioned, plus a "Joseph (Joel) Lorraine Smith," but it's not a particularly fruitful profile.

Looking at the photo of the painting, I have to concur with quibx. If there is indeed an artist named JL Smith (and it's not a made-up name), he's definitely not an Abstract Expressionist in the technical, historical sense. Circle in Teal looks far more contemporary--my guess is early-mid 80s, particularly given what appears to be airbrushing.

Did you want to have it appraised or were you looking for more work by the artist or did you just want to know more background about him/her?
posted by veronica sawyer at 12:13 PM on June 13, 2005

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