Jaune QUICK-TO-SEE SMITH US, b. 1940


“I always tell my students, 'Art can keep your life balanced and healthy. Art is my obsession. '"


- Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Born January 15, 1940 at the St. Ignatius Indian Mission on her reservation, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is an enrolled Salish member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, Montana. Smith received an Associate of Arts Degree at Olympic College in Bremerton Washington in 1960, a BA in Art Education from Framingham State College, Massachusetts in 1976, and an MA in Visual Arts from the University of New Mexico in 1980.


Smith has been creating complex abstract paintings and prints since the 1970s. Combining appropriated imagery from commercial slogans and signage, art history and personal narratives, she forges an intimate visual language to convey her insistent socio-political commentary with astounding clout. Smith’s work carries tremendous weight and yet feels light and conversational—in large part due to this forged, personal lexicon of developed imagery. As critic Gerrit Henry, (Art in America, 2001) writes: “For all the primal nature of her origins, Smith adeptly takes on contemporary American society in her paintings, drawings and prints, looking at things Native and national through bifocals of the old and the new, the sacred and the profane, the divine and the witty.” For her ability to create and integrate her own visual language in her canvases, Smith produces multi-faceted work grounded in themes of personal and political identity.


Smith has received numerous awards such as the Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award, New York, l987; the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters Grant, 1996; the Women’s Caucus for the Arts Lifetime Achievement, 1997; the College Art Association Women’s Award, 2002; Governor’s Outstanding New Mexico Woman’s Award, 2005; New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, 2005. Art Table Artist Honoree, New York, 2011; Visionary Woman Award, Moore College, Pennsylvania, 2011; Elected to the National Academy of Art, New York,  2011; Living Artist of Distinction Award, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 2012; NAEA Ziegfeld Lecture Award, 2014; The Woodson Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015 along with four honorary doctorates: Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 1992; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1998; Massachusetts College of Art, 2003; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 2009.


Smith’s work in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Quito, Ecuador; the Museum of Mankind, Vienna, Austria; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.