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Tucker Smith has long been considered one of the pre-eminent painters of North American wildlife. Smith combines meticulous brushwork with subtle light evoking early 20th century masters of Western romanticism. Raised on a small farm outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, Smith moved to Wyoming at the age of 12. His artistic skill was evident even as a young child, although his family viewed art simply as an avocation. Smith went on to graduate from the University of Wyoming, with a Bachelor of Science degree in math and a minor in art. He spent the following eight years working for the State of Montana and painting on a part time basis. Smith realized art was his true passion in life, and he became a full time professional artist at the age of 31.
Smith lives on the Hoback Rim in western Wyoming surrounded by the abundant wildlife and mountain atmosphere that inspires his artwork. His subjects range from sprawling cattle ranches to the vast back country of the Wind River Mountains. He puts great importance on sense of place. Smith states, “I believe it is necessary to experience nature first hand in order to be able to convey it to someone else through a painting. When doing an animal painting, my first consideration is the setting. It is the particular environment that made the animal. The relationship between the two is of great interest to me.”
Smith has exhibited at many of the major art shows in the U.S. and won the prestigious Prix de West Award at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1990, and the Lougheed Award (artists’ choice) in 1996. He has won numerous awards at the Masters Exhibition at the Autry Museum of the American West. In 2013 he received the John G. Geraghty Award for advancement of contemporary art. In 2014 Tucker won the Top Tier Juried Competition at the Jackson Hole Art Auction. In 2015 he was a featured artist in the Woolaroc Museum Best of the Best Retrospective Exhibit.
A major retrospective exhibition of his work will be held at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in the summer of 2020. The exhibition will travel to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum fall of 2020, the National Sporting Library and Museum spring and summer of 2021, and the Booth Western Art Museum and the C. M. Russell Museum fall of 2021.