Gladys Nelson Smith

Little about Gladys Nelson’s childhood on a Kansas farm foreshadowed her eventual professional success in the sophisticated art circles of greater Washington, DC. Following studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York, she enrolled at the Corcoran School of Art, where she took classes with Edmund C. Tarbell. Best known for lush impressionistic landscapes, Smith was also a gifted portraitist. Here she portrays a robust iceman, depicted with an endearing half-smile on his face and an upward glance. A very similar character is the subject of another oil in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. When exhibited in 1940, Time Out was praised as being “excellent in tone and technical handling.” “More still,” the reviewer continued, “as a characterization it carries conviction.”