The Complete Works of Philippe Smit
by Andreas Narzt and Florence Castellani
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Catalogue entry

Photo: Christopher Burke Studios, NY; © FdDPS
Photo: Christopher Burke Studios, NY; FdDPS
Original frame designed and painted by the artist.



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Classification: Pastel »
Theme: figurative »
Medium: Pastel »
Support: on cardboard »
Year(s): 1921 »
PS 227 (P 211; LNC 205)
Chant printanier (Spring Song)
Alternate titles: Ange avec deux enfants; Heilige; Saint; Sainte
Pastel on cardboard
31 1/2 x 27 3/8 in. (80 x 69.5 cm) (sight size)
Dedicated and signed lower right: a ma Chère petite Loty]/ je dédie ce petit chant/ printanier/ Philippe [sic]
Inv. T. P., Ptgs etc. at Bryn Athyn, n.d. [c. 1940], Glencairn archives: no. [25] [P 211], p. [1], Woman in Garden with Two Children, 28 x 32 1/2 [in.].
Inv. Pitcairn, n.d. [c.1957], n.p., LNC archives: no. P 211, Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, Angel with open book and two children under tree in bloom, Smit, Pastel, 31 1/2 x 27 1/4 [in.].
Inv. LNC, 1984, updated Oct. 1998, LNC archives: no. P 211, p. 3, The Main Residence - Large Living Room, Angel with Open Book & two children under tree in bloom, Pastel, 37 1/2 x 27 1/4 [in.].
Kunstzaal Fetter, Amsterdam, Netherlands, [unknown title], November, 1921, as Saint, (see Niehaus 1921).
Literature & Primary Sources
Niehaus, Kasper. "PHILIPPE SMIT: Kunstzaal Fetter." De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), 30-11-1921, p. 9, as Saint.
Philippe Smit. ALS to René Massé. Recloses, n.d. [10 June 1922].
Niehaus, Kasper. "Philippe Smit." Het Getij. Maandschrift voor kunst en letteren VII (1922), p. 82 & 84, ill. in b/w p. 81, as Saint.
Niehaus, Kasper. "Schilderkunst, Philippe Smit." Maandblad voor beeldende kunsten Eerste Jaargang, n°11 (11/1924), p. 323, as Heilige.
Niehaus, Kasper. "Te weinig geëerd shilder: De beteekenis van Philippe Smit." De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), 27-01-1933, p. 7, as Sainte.
Niehaus, Kasper. "Philippe Smit." Elsevier's Geïllustreerd Maandschrift Jaargang 47, n° 93 (1937 januari-juli), p. 232, as Saint.
Niehaus, Kasper. Levende Nederlandsche Kunst. Amsterdam: Bigot & Van Rossum, 1942, p. 202–206, p. 204, as Saint.
Niehaus, Kasper. Philippe Smit, unkown genius. Revised and edited by Marjorie Bell. Typescript, 1955, p. 29, as Ange avec deux enfants.
"[…] Malgré ma Maladie de cette hiver/ j’ai beaucoup travailler. Mais la vie de/ Paris me fatigue beaucoup. Ma santé/ n’ai [est] pas encore ce que j’était auparavant/ enfin pourvu que je peut rendre mes rêves/ et de temps a autres aller vers cette divines forêts quelles beauté! […] ici il y a eu de grand changement. nous/ avee [avons] transformé la grand[e] pièce/ pour avoir plus de place pour les tableaus. […] ci-joint un portrait de Maryke [piece jointe perdue] de ce/ tableaux qui est parti en Amerique/ et puis aussi le concert d’Ange/ avec les cignes. aussi parti en Amerique […]  Sainte/ Châle avec colerette rose un peu mauve/ jupe bleu pâle. le paysage sombre/ et quand même très sonores, les ailes/ de l’ange gris violasses le parterre vert/ fin un peu gris. pommier blanc avec/ colombe, et Cignes blanc pâle [...]" [sic] (... Despite my illness this winter I have worked a lot. But life in Paris greatly exhausts me. My health is not as good as it was before. Well as long as I can achieve my dreams and go from time to time to this divine forest, what beauty. … Big changes were made here. We have transformed the large room to have more space for the paintings. … Attached a portrait of Maryke [attachement lost], the painting which has left for America and the concert of an angel with swans, also gone to America. … Saint: a pink coloured shawl with some mauve, light blue skirt. Dark countryside but yet very noisy, the wings of the angels lilac purplish grey, the ground green, background slightly grey, a white apple tree with a dove and white pale swans. ...) (Philippe Smit 1922)

This pastel, along with the portrait of Marijke with White Feather Fan [PS 229], is Theodore Pitcairn’s first purchase in 1921, while travelling in Europe.1 Ernst Pfeiffer is the intermediary.
The purpose of the trip to Europe is, among other things, to find an artist who is able to execute portraits of the clergy and members of the church of the Pitcairn brothers and capable of expressing spirituality.2
At the end of 1921, Ernst Pfeiffer handled sending the two pastels to Raymond Pitcairn.3 In a letter sent to Theodore, who had been staying for months in South Africa, Raymond relays his critical appraisal of the pastel: "[…] As Smit’s other picture, I confess that when it arrived I/ did not care for it, although the glass was pretty well smeared over with/ paste. When I got it home and the glass was cleaned up an I looked at it/ from a little distance it looked better and I endeavoured to maintain an/ affirmative attitude toward it. I confess that I do not care much for it./ There is, I admit, an expression of wonder in the angel’s face which has/ a kind of fascination, and certainly the fact that it is intensely senti-/ mental should not prejudice its standing as a painting. To me, however,/ it does not seem to be a wonderful painting. […]"4

1. "[…] In Holland I bought/ two paintings or rather/ pastels from a friend/ of Mr. Pfeifer [sic] Philip[pe]/ Smit. I feel certain/ he is the greatest/ living artiste quite/ a young man. I/ wish he could come/ to B. A. [Bryn Athyn] and paint/ the Elder Bishop [PS 246]./ I met him and liked/ him very much. […]" (Theodore Pitcairn, ALS to his brother Raymond, 6 August [1921], Glencairn archives).
2. See [PS 246], [PS 244] and Chronology 1921.
3. "I am writing you on behalf of my friend Mr. Philippe Smit, the/ artist from whom, as you probably know,/ Theodore has bought two pastels. […]" (Ernst Pfeiffer, ALS to Raymond Pitcairn, Scheveningen, 27 November 1921, Glencairn archives).
4. Raymond Pitcairn, LTS to his brother Theodore, Bryn Athyn, 5 April 1922 (Glencairn archives).

Record last updated April 20, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Citation: Narzt, Andreas and Castellani, Florence. "Chant printanier (Spring Song), 1921 (PS 227)." The Complete Works of Philippe Smit. (accessed on September 26, 2021).