Rupert Jasen Smith, American (1953 - 1989)

Rupert Jasen Smith

Rupert Jasen Smith was born in 1953 in New Jersey.

He was raised in Palm beach, Florida. Smith received his bachelor of arts degree from Pratt Institute, New York City in 1973, in painting and printmaking. Shortly thereafter, he was offered the position of master printer at Tamarind Institute in Los Angeles, but declined, deciding to work independently in New York. Smith had spent most of his childhood intrigued by the tropical, lush surroundings indigenous to Florida and began painting and studied under the American landscape painter, A. E. Bakus. Surface quality became a significant aspect of his paintings and he experimented with illuminating a dimensional source within and on top of his canvases, eventually leading to the application of diamond dust particles onto his surfaces to enhance the prismatic properties of light and color. In 1974, Smith met Andy Warhol and assisted him with his hand-painted flowers editions.

Mr. Smith established a close relationship with Warhol more than 15 years ago and was named his master printmaker and art director in 1977 - only four years after graduating from the Pratt Institute - when he collaborated with Warhol on the Hammer and Sickle painting and silkscreens. So pleased was Warhol with the master printer's work that the artist allowed Mr. Smith's printer's stamp next to the signature "Andy Warhol" on all of their works.

Warhol's works bearing Mr. Smith's mark include his portraits of Princess Grace of Monaco, Ingrid Bergman, Mickey Mouse and Edward Kennedy, as well as the works known as Reigning Queens - 1985, Endangered Species - 1983 and Shoes - 1980 and all the privately commissioned work Warhol did during the last 10 years of his life.

Rupert Jasen Smith, aside from being Andy Warhol''s printer and an important collaborator with Warhol in his later years, was an artist in his own right. ome critics say that without Psaier and fellow artist Rupert Jasen Smith in the background, Warhol could never have produced and maintained production of the Factory commercial output but with both dignity and style both men chose not to take the limelight from Warhol.

Mr. Smith also was an artist of note in his own right and achieved acclaim for his portrait and portfolio of Greta Garbo. His work is represented by Gallery Sho in Tokyo, Gallerie Borjeson in Sweden and the Hokin galleries in Chicago, Miami and Palm Beach, as well as the Fred Dorfman Gallery in New York.

Mr. Smith printer's stamp is also on many of the works of Larry Rivers, Keith Haring, Kenny Scarf and photographer Francesco Scavullo.

A native of New Hope whose grandfather was New Hope's "country doctor" for 50 years, Mr. Smith himself became something of a legend in Bucks County. Not only were his achievements deeply admired, his house drew widespread fascination: It was inside the aged remnants of a late-18th-century, five- story silk mill on Sugan Road.

He designed and printed uniquely colored silkscreen prints for the introduction to the portfolio of prints and writings by Keith Haring and William Burroughs entitled "Apocalypse," published in 1988.

A partial list of private collectors of his work prior to his death included: Julie Christie, Halston, Jenkins, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, John Lennon, Rauchenberg, and Warhol.

Rupert Jasen Smith passed away in 1989 in North Ridge, Florida from complications of AIDS.

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