Effie Anderson Smith (Mrs. Andrew Young Smith) was an Arkansas born, early Arizona Impressionist painter of desert landscapes and the Grand Canyon. She was born near Nashville, Arkansas and grew up in the newly established city of Hope. In Hope she discovered a love of drawing and painting - passions that would later change her life.

In 1892 at age 22, Effie traveled west to attend her brother's wedding in Deming, New Mexico. She went home to Arkansas with memories of the beauty and splendor of the desert southwest.  After teaching school in Nashville and Hope, she returned to Deming in 1894, and soon met a Scottish immigrant - railroad clerk A. Y. Smith.  The following year, Effie and Andrew were married in Bisbee, and so began their exciting life together in the rip-roaring mining camps of the Arizona Territory.

A pioneer settler of Cochise County, wife and mother, writer and poet, educator, community activist, Southwest Impressionist painter, arts advocate, and feminist. This website is dedicated to Effie's story .


"Her exhibit is a reminder that Arizona offers every conceivable artistic problem of light, color, mass, lines and emotion. Especially do Arizona lights test the abilities, for in few places is it so intense, so quickly changing and so suggestive of varying moods. In this phase of work alone Mrs. Smith has established herself as an artist of excellent ability."

- Bernice Cosulich - Arizona Daily Star - January 25, 1927


"The expression of space by a graduation of color ranging from the clear cut Yucca and yellow grasses across the base line to the many colored tips of the mountain vanishing in the sky was distinctive. From the saturated colors of the desert to the hues of the mountain tops and shades of the canyons the noted colourist depicted Southern Arizona as only one could who loved the country and was in sympathy with its every mood."

- The Benson News - December 11, 1926


"...It is the desert and the desert hills and mountains that this artist has glorified, not a land of sand and wasteland, but a country where color runs riot from its desert blossoms to its famous sunsets..."

- Alice Mahoney - Douglas Daily Dispatch - January 11, 1942


Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains

near E.A. Smith's home in Pearce.

She is known to have painted this vista 14 times.

The unique formation known as the Rockfellow Dome - Cochise Stronghold near Pearce, Arizona.

"If every sound has its corresponding color wave, may we not dream of a bewildering color feast flung on canvas to the tones of a Wagner overture or a Beethoven sonata?

What a fascinating problem it would be to work out the color probabilities of the great masterpieces of music.

I believe Beethoven of all the master musicians would best have interpreted this desert land of ours.

Being deaf he dwelt in the vast silences and understood their vibrations."  

-from "The Relation of Sound to Color", a lecture at the Tucson Women's Club by
Effie Anderson Smith - Tucson, Arizona - March 1932


About this website...

Welcome to the E. A. Smith Archive.  This website features memorabilia from a collection of the artists' papers which remain in family hands. Newly digitized images of her paintings, photographs, documents and other emphemera are posted as they become available.

We are gathering details on paintings by Effie Anderson Smith to be included in our forthcoming catalogue raisonné , so we're always interested to hear about any E. A. Smith (Mrs. A. Y.) paintings, photos, letters or other related items you own or have seen. Your comments and questions are invited.

150th birthday exhibits

The TUCSON DESERT ART MUSEUM will present EFFIE! Plein Air Pioneer - a 150th birthday retrospective exhibit. Opening  January 11 to April 28, 2019. Details at  TDAM website.

  We are seeking E.A. Smith paintings for several exhibits to take place in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Arkansas in 2019 in observance of Effie's 150th birthday anniversary. If you have an E.A. Smith painting you would consider loaning for display in our exhibits, please use the CONTACT link above.

Reviving Effie's legacy

ANN JAPENGA continues her wonderful series CALIFORNIA DESERT ART with a very encouraging article about Effie's art, and our efforts to restore greater understanding and appreciation of Effie's artistic legacy.

Effie's Early Life in Arkansas

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARKANSAS History and Culture  now includes an updated biographical sketch on Effie, including recently uncovered facts about her youth, in and around the towns of Nashville, Washington and Hope, in Southwest Arkansas.


Could America Have Also Been the Birthplace of Impressionism?  The story of Effie Anderson Smith, forgotten impressionist from the American frontier. - by Kelsey McKinney on MEDIUM.com


with many newly uncovered insights
into the life and art of
Effie Anderson Smith


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Effie's Life, in Brief...

 1869: Born near Nashville, Arkansas.

 1884: At 15 Effie is painting landscapes.

 1890: Weds W.M. Spencer in Hope, Ark.

 1891: Effie becomes a widow at age 21.

 1894-95: Teaches school in Deming, NM.

 1895-96: Weds A.Y. Smith, settles in Pearce.

 1904-28: Travels to CA for art studies.

 1907: Art becomes solace after death of baby girl.

 1914-16: Studies in Pasadena & Laguna Beach.

 1927-30: Notoriety of Grand Canyon works.

 1929: Fire at Smith home, some works lost.

 1931: Exhibits in major Eastern Cities.

 1931: Beloved husband A.Y. Smith dies.

 1932-45: Effie's most prolific years as artist. 

 1942: Effie unveils new series on Desert Flora.

 1945: Starts art discussion class in Douglas.

 1948: Effie begins painting Coronado Trail series.

 1949: 80th birthday retrospective in Douglas

 1951: Moves to AZ Pioneers' Home in Prescott.

 1953: Effie ceases painting due to vision issues. 

 1955: Death claims Effie - Age 85.

Exhibition Catalogue

An Exhibition Catalogue is now available from our 2012 Arizona Statehood Centennial exhibit in E-Book (PDF) format. We are happy to provide a copy to interested collectors, art historians, dealers and appraisers.

Direct inquiries to: E.A. Smith Archive

Terms of Use...

The contents of this website are made available for educational and research purposes, and for the private personal non-commercial enjoyment of individuals wishing to learn more about the life and art of Effie Anderson Smith. Please do not copy, distribute, or publish these materials in any manner. Questions or comments?  Please contact us. Copyright 2011-2018. EASmith Archive.