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Xanthus Russell Smith stunning watercolor painting circa 1878

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Xanthus Russell Smith (1839 - 1929)
Watercolor Painting, Circa 1875
Marine/Canal Scene with Merchant Vessels and Sailboats.


Exceptional 19th Century watercolor by this highly listed American artist. Possibly a canal in Maine as was many of his marine scenes. He also did scenes from South Carolina, but this is a mountainous view, so more likely Maine.


He was the second of a three artist generation. His father Russell and Son Xanthus Jr. You can research online and see for yourself what he has sold for and hence, the immense demand for his work. This is also unusually larger then most of his paintings which historically command higher values. Signed Lower left.

Size: 10.5 x 19".




Known as a painter of Civil War marine battle scenes, Xanthus Smith sold his first paintings at age fifteen. Two years later he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and by the start of the Civil War, he was an established painter. His signature paintings after the War were small and had minute brushstrokes, blending clouds and sky with space well defined.

He was born and raised in suburban Philadelphia, and learned much of his painting technique from his mother, Mary Priscilla Smith, who was an accomplished painter in a delicate manner of flowers in watercolor. His father, Russell Smit,h was a theater scene painter whose style was much bolder and aggressive than his wife's. Be sure to check out the spectacular seascape, marine oil painting by Russell Smith, we have here on our web site.

Xanthus served in the Union Navy from September, 1862 and painted while serving as a captain's clerk. He saw limited action, but his love of the sea led to a series of naval scenes, painted between 1869 and 1874. His studio was in Philadelphia, where he also sold many marine and landscape paintings, most of them small about eight by twelve inches. One of his paintings was a 30-foot long beach scene of Cape May, New Jersey, which was painted for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

He also painted portraits and did photography, but painting Civil War and Marine scenes remained a life-long specialty.