Biography: Best known as a marine painter, Smith was born in Philadelphia and his parents were artists. He studied chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. He saw little action and spent much of his time sketching ships. After the war he returned to the Philadelphia area, living in his family home in Glenside and maintaining a studio on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.