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Museum: Closed
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Today's Hours
Museum: Closed
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Szmyd, Edward
Collection: American Collection
Specialty: Paintings
View Artwork
Born on June 9, 1933 in Trafford, Pennsylvania, Edward Szymd, son of
Antoni and Blanche Frydrych Szymd, had decided upon a career as an artist
by the age of nine when he won first prize in a community art show. During
his high school years, he used his free time to study the work of various
artists at the Carnegie Museum. Years later, he declared, "I started
painting at the age of nine. It wasn't possible to change my environment
but on canvas I could make things look anyway I wanted." After he
graduated from the Art Institute in Pittsburgh, he moved to Florida in
1950, renting a room from a local couple who became a second family and
starting a career as a commercial artist. Szymd painted landscapes and
still-lifes on the side, selling them along Las Olas Boulevard in Fort
Lauderdale for a thousand dollars a canvas until he had accumulated enough
of a following to devote himself full time to fine art.

His success enabled him to purchase a home in Dania, Florida which he
christened Orchid House, surrounding it with lush gardens, including a
variety of orchids. In painting the sun-drenched landscapes and individual
flowers and blooms he drew from that inspiration, he established himself
as a master of both light and color in a traditionally realistic style.
However, there was a downside. Szymd explained, "Florida's climate lends
itself to growing orchids. I found myself with a collection of 4,000
plants which I maintained personally. This started to interfere with my
career as an artist and I was forced to sell the collection."

Though he specialized in gardens and floral still-lifes like Spring
Garden, Red Poppies
, and Sunflowers, all in the permanent
collection of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Szymd often traveled to explore
other vistas for his art, for instance, painting a rough wintry seascape
for a friend based on a trip he made to Maine for that purpose, or
traveling south to Mexico for paintings like Puerto Vallarta
(collection of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery). On a trip to Tennessee in the
1960s, he passed through Blowing Rock, North Carolina and was enchanted by
the area. He returned repeatedly, finally settling there permanently in
1985. His national reputation continued to grow as he added mountain
scenery and wintry landscapes, like that depicted in The Sentinel,
also in the collection of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, to his repertoire.
Unlike many landscape artists, Szymd preferred not to work in plein air.
He described his process:

I prefer not working on location. The light changes so quickly and
there are the problems of the elements. After going on a research trip for
a special subject, I usually come back with enough reference to keep me
busy for a year. I choose a subject, photograph it, and proceed to paint
it as idyllically as possible. Once the painting is started, the
photograph is discarded and the creative process begins. The work is time
consuming and many months may pass before I am sufficiently satisfied to
release a particular painting. Under the final paint surface are many
stages of development. Each painting presents a different problem. The
painting is signed when all the problems are solved and there is nothing
more I can do, at this point in my career, to improve the work.

Edward Szymd passed away at the Blowing Rock Hospital in 2004. He left
behind a stunning array of paintings completed during a highly prolific
career, and his work continues to be highly sought after by collectors
around the world.

Everl Adair, Director of Research and Rare Collections