Maine Coast

James David Smillie etched Old Cedars, Coast of Maine, one of his best known prints, for the American Art Review, which published it in October 1880. The print reproduced his own watercolor, painted while on holiday in the summer of 1879 in Kennebunkport.
For this print, as detailed in his journal, Smillie made a drawing of the watercolor and transferred it to a prepared plate. Originality was not an issue at this time. Artists sometimes etched replicas after their own work in other media. Most highly valued, however, were the etchings conceived and then drawn directly on the plate.
The popularity of Old Cedars is indicated by the attempt of German painter-etcher Hans Friedrich Emanuel Schennis (1852–1918) to pass off his copy in reverse as the original print. However, Schennis’s fraud was exposed and the fake and the original were shown together in a New York exhibition in 1885.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
graphic artist
Smillie, James David
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 12.5 cm x 17.5 cm; 4 15/16 in x 6 7/8 in
sheet: 23.5 cm x 31 cm; 9 1/4 in x 12 3/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Ferris Collection
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Ferris Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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