Frank Vining Smith

Paintings by Frank Vining Smith

Frank Vining Smith

“Uncharted Seas” and Other Interesting Marine Pieces by Boston Painter at Doll & Richards’s Gallery

Mr. Frank Vining Smith is holding his first Boston exhibition of paintings at the Doll & Richards Gallery, 71 Newbury street, [sic] until November 18. He is a marine painter of distinct merit, who has had an excellent training in his art, and has specialized mainly in illustration.i

With this blunt, simple statement serving as a herald’s trumpet, so was Frank Vining Smith’s grand entrance into the world of fine art first announced. It was in the early winter of 1921 that Smith experienced the excitement and anxiety of his first one-man show, an event that did not fail to draw notice from the Boston papers despite its having only a brief run lasting from November 8thth to the nineteenth of that year.ii Declarations that his work was “distinctly decorative, not to say splendid”iii and “rendered with verisimilitude and dramatic effect”iv readily spilled from the lips of reviewers, while the “warm sunlight”v and “really beautiful and airy sky”vi found within his pieces were particularly commended. Exhibiting an array of varying nautical themes with which to demonstrate his skills and entice interested buyers we find that historical compositions depicting various sail craft through the centuries were present in number, as were a host of lonely seascapes and wooded island landscapes, (the overwhelming majority of which received favorable and enthusiastic criticism). Yet it was his visions of empty coastline that captivated those who viewed the show the most, compelling one reviewer to comment, “There is something doing in the way of surf in all of these canvases, and they are made with a great deal of strong first-hand observation and naturalism.


19 Comments for this entry

  • Chuck

    Does anyone know if Mr. Smith kept a record of his paintings? I inherited a Clipper ship painting by Mr. Smith titled, “Voyage Home” and I am not sure what year it was painted. From what I know the painting was originally owned by my grandfather (I am 36) as a young man who was a attorney and had a flare for art. Not sure where he may have purchased it or when so that is another part of the mystery for me. I have established communication with the Peter Williams museum out of Boston and from the photos I sent them they agree that the painting appears authentic as an original. Unfortunately the painting which is oil on canvas needs some work as it is yellowed with a few, what I would call as an uneducated individual minor cracks. Any insight anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated. I really would like to collect any information that I could on this piece. I thank you in advance. On a side note, if a tally of Mr. Smiths art is in the works I would be happy to supply photos to the creator of that archive.

  • Tarky7

    Hi Chuck –

    Please send me a photo – It seems that this site is starting to get some traction in the search space with information about the provenance of the painting. Email me at if you like, I will create some pages on this site to feature paintings like yours so that there is an opportunity for other people to find them and exchange information.

    In this way I can also get the creators of the Frank Vining Smith book to be able to easily take a look and give their expert opinion.


  • Chuck

    Per your request I just sent you an email with a couple of photos. One of the front view of the painting and the other is a shot of the title located on the back of the frame. I would agree creating a page to offer photos of his work available for others to view is a good idea. Even if no information is collected I would think that fans of his paintings would appreciate the available views. Thanks again for the interest and putting this site together.

  • Marci

    Have you ever seen or heard of “Before The Driving Wind” Signed Frank Vinning Smith lower right. Looks to be in the original frame, resembling the frame on the piece titled “Red Jacket. Do you have any info or interest?


  • admin

    Hi Marci – I would refer you to this gallery – Peter Kiernan Marine Arts Gallery. Salem Ma 978-745-500 www. – they have posted on this site and I have personally talked with the owners. They can give you an expert opinion on the painting in your possession.

  • Marci

    Is there any particular pieces of Frank Vinning Smith I should look for? What are the most desired nautical paintings? I love any ship paintings. I do have a few oils on board. Some of the names are hard to figure out, such as Kilbrew, Carr, Robinson I believe. Thank you for your response and the info. Much appreciated.

    Sincerely, Marci

  • Joyce Clifford

    I have owned a Frank Vinning Smith piece for about 30 years – having bought it at an antique shop on Cape Cod. It is signed but does not have a title on it. What is the best way for me to get this painting identified and the best appraiser for this?


  • Andrew


    We own an original Frank Vining Smith nautical painting, signed in the lower right, although I don’t know the title. We inherited it from my grandmother.

    It has some slight damage to the canvas in the upper right, and a couple of tiny nicks in other parts. We aren’t interested in selling, but would like to see this beautiful piece restored. Can you recommend anyone who specializes in Mr. Vining’s work, or do you have any other recommendations? Thanks for your help

  • James

    I have an oil painting “the Voyage Home”. Does anyone have any information on this peice?

  • Steve

    Looks like two of you own a painting entitled “the Voyage home”. A painting can’t exist in two places at the same time, so at least one of you has a fake.

  • Sheila

    My uncle recently cleared out his mother’s home after she passed away and came across numerous artworks from his Uncle’s collection while at war during World War II. Amongst them are many art works including “Over the Bounding Main” by F. Vining Smith. Have you heard of this painting?

  • Chuck

    Steve, you are correct about the “Voyage Home” painting and I have since confirmed that mine is a print. I have a cousin who is a art major and he suggested taking a 10x magnifier to look very closely at the fine details in the painting. What I saw on the ropes under the magnifier were dots and not brush strokes so I confirmed mine was a print. Someone went through a lot of trouble to make it look like an original as I have the cracking and yellowing of an aged original oil painting but underneth all that is definetly a print. I would advise James to check his as well. If I have a print doctored to this extent there is a possiblity that he has a print as well.

  • Sharon Carlsen

    My husband has a painting (or print) in a wooden frame he inherited from his parents. It is signed by Frank Vining Smith. It is of a ship sailing at sea. We have been unable to find this painting in any of the prints or paintings of the artist so we do not know the title of it. How can we tell if it is a print or a painting and what the title of the work is?

  • Nancy

    I also have a painting on canvas titled Voyage Home. It was purchased in an art gallery on Cape Cod in 1972 for 250.00 by a family reletive who has passed. (The reciept was attached to the back of the painting). I have absolutely no knowledge of art, but now we know there are at least 3 Voyage Home paintings. My guess is there are probably more. I did try magnifying the details as suggested by Chuck but I can’t tell the difference between real and print so I will assume it is a print as well.

  • Karen Bowman

    I have a print in a wooden frame signed on the bottom right corner. There is a flag flying on the right of the ship with 13 stars on it. I have not seen the same one in the gallery of pictures. How can I find out the name of this picture? It belonged to my mother-in-law who passed away at age 93. Appears to be from the 30’s or 40’s by appearance.

  • Kathy Glenn

    Hello I’m looking for information on a print signed by Frank Vining Smith and believe the name to be Romance of Sail. My husband inherited it from his family and says it hung in their home for as long as he remembers and he is 65.
    Can you tell me anything about the print?

  • Ken

    I have just inherited an original oil painting from my Mother. She was 96 yrs. it is titled “Sea Wind”. Frank Vining Smith was a relative in my family, a distant cousin. We also have several Christmas postcards that were sent to my parents that he drew always some theme to them. Can you give me any information on these items?

  • James Denton

    I have a large print in an original frame by

    It is titled “CAUGHT ON CAMERA” any info on when it
    was produced, price..etc…would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mike

    I found a signed frank vining smith oil painting titled american clipper. Would like to find more info about the authenticity of the painting? And more historical info?

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