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ARTIST NAME: Smith, James Agrell
ACCESSION NUMBER: 0004.075.000134
DATE: 1970
CATEGORY: Printmaking
MEDIUM: wood engraving
SUPPORT: paper
DIMENSIONS: Image: 20.1 x 15.1 cm (7 15/16 x 5 15/16 in.) Sheet: 28.5 x 22.2 cm (11 1/4 x 8 3/4 in.)
COLLECTION: Donations to Visual Arts Branch

OTHER HOLDINGS: Smith, James Agrell
ARTIST BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Born in Stettler, Alberta in 1913, James Agrell Smith began sketching by drawing samples of plants and other materials that he picked up on nature walks on the prairie north of town with his father, who had a keen interest in the natural world. His inclination to make art was stimulated by these experiences and, other than taking a brief summer art course at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick in 1944, it was an occupation that he studied on his own. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy as a boy seaman in 1931 (he was seventeen), and upon his discharge in 1947 worked as a freelance artist. In 1950, he took a full-time job with Canada Post in Red Deer, Alberta, where he worked until his retirement in 1970. Although James Agrell Smith worked in a variety of media, his highest accomplishment was in the graphic media, working with sumi-ink drawing, wood engraving, woodcuts and woodblock prints. His prints and drawings were generally small-scale, detailed and full of expression, and his preferred subjects included portraiture, including self-portraits, figures, and rural scenes. Agrell Smith had a very important influence on the development of printmaking in Alberta. He became an associate member of the Canadian Society of Painters, Etchers, and Engravers (CPE) in 1952, assuming full membership in 1954. Smith was instrumental in setting up the Western Chapter, Edmonton Branch of the CPE and exhibited regularly with that organization during the 1950’s and 60’s. He participated in the influential Hart House show entitled Western Printmakers Exhibit in 1957, as well as at the Northwest Printmakers International Exhibitions in Seattle, Washington, USA in the 1960’s. Agrell Smith's prints can be found in the public collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Art Gallery of Alberta, and the Glenbow Museum as well as many private collections.

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve. 

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