Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery

at Keene State College

Keene, NH

(603) 358-2720


Paintings by Joseph Lindon Smith: Egypt at the Thorne


This painting by Joseph Lindon Smith shows the wife of a pharaoh playing the harp found inside an Egyptian tomb. Please click on image to enlarge it.


The Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery brings to life the artwork of ancient Egypt in an exhibit of paintings by Joseph Lindon Smith, a founding member of the legendary Dublin Art Colony. Paintings by Joseph Lindon Smith: Egypt at the Thorne opened Feb. 27, 1999 and continues through Aug. 4, 1999 at the art gallery, located on the Keene State College campus.

Paintings by Joseph Lindon Smith: Egypt at the Thorne captures the excitement of unearthing the tombs of the Pharaohs. Schoolchildren are invited to learn more about this mysterious world through "Walk Like an Egyptian" educational tours led by Friends of the Thorne docents March 8-24.

The exhibit shows some of the finest examples of Smith's work, which details sculpted reliefs on crumbling temples and vivid wall paintings inside tombs of the Pharaohs. Smith recorded with a paint brush the ancient artwork as it was found by archaeologists. During much of his long art career, Smith was a member of the Harvard-Boston Expedition at Giza, working under the well-known archaeologist George Andrew Reisner, who unearthed the tombs and statuary from Egypt's great Pyramid Age, called the Old Kingdom.

Smith has a distinctive technique that renders canvas into stone walls with cracks and chips drawn so realistically that his paintings are often mistaken for the actual wall surface, explains Maureen Ahern, director of the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery.

The 40 paintings in this exhibition are mainly from New England sources, coming from family members and museums, most notably the Fitchburg Art Museum, which has an extensive collection of Smith's work on long-term loan from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Smith, who died in 1950, was born in 1863 in Rhode Island but chose to live in New Hampshire, where he was one of the artists who formed the Dublin Art Colony at the turn of the 20th century.

As the 19th century ended, Smith saw many treasures of the ancient past for himself, but realized that most of his American contemporaries would never have such an awe-inspiring experience. He began to see his mission in life as a preserver and recorder of the great monuments and sculpture of the ancient world. He worked in many places, including the Far East and Central America, but it was to Egypt that Smith returned again and again to paint.

Hundreds of Smith paintings exist, many on canvases which match in size the relief scenes being copied. Today these works stand as examples of the best of copies and at the same time as works of art in their own right.

Paintings by Joseph Lindon Smith: Egypt at the Thorne is free and open to the public, as are the reception and educational tours.

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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