Karl Beckwith Smith
Karl B. Smith was born in 1950 in Saranac Lake, New York. Karl’s early years were spent in Connecticut and New York. He attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., where he graduated Cum Laude. While at St. Paul’s, Smith’s early interest in art was kindled.
In 1972 Karl graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Art History. While at Princeton he studied painting with Esteban Vicente… and was one of the first undergraduates to submit paintings for his thesis. After graduation Smith traveled extensively in Europe, visiting 38 countries.
Art has always been Smith’s motivating force. He painted for 10 years while living in the New York neighborhood of Tribeca. Karl was also a studio assistant for a Guggenheim Fellow and manager for a gallery for imported art in the Soho District.
In 1983 Karl Smith moved to Cold Spring on Hudson, NY where he established Turn-of-the Century Art Gallery. While living in Cold Spring, Smith participated in numerous exhibits in the Hudson Valley. He received a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts to produce an exhibit of 50 drawings illustrating historic houses of the Hudson River Valley. The exhibit traveled to six museums and was published as a book in 1989: Hudson Heritage, an Artist's Perspective on Architecture.
Karl moved to Charleston in 1992, where he opened Halcyon Place Gallery on Wentworth Street and a design studio in Folly Beach. An avid supporter of the arts in Charleston, Smith lends his incredible talent to many worthwhile charities.
Since then, KBS has worked extensively in the historic district of Charleston and the surrounding areas, creating custom artwork for architects, interior designers, builders, homeowners, restaurants and commercial businesses. Since then, KBS has worked extensively in the historic district of Charleston and the surrounding areas, creating custom artwork for architects, interior designers, builders, homeowners, restaurants and commercial businesses.
Smith created the Andre Michaux Mural that hangs along the front curb of the airport terminal. Guests leaving the terminal see it as they walk toward the parking deck.
The acrylic on canvas mural memorializes the life and work of Michaux, from the rice fields along the Ashley River’s plantations to the Charleston Harbor where at a busy port he introduced one of the first Camellia plants to the area. Also depicted is a rendering of what the French Botanical Garden might have looked like. It’s based on descriptions found in historic documents. In the image Michaux and his son Francois are surrounded by “potager,” or a kitchen garden.
Michaux is credited with exporting more than 60,000 trees to Versailles to replenish forests destroyed for the shipbuilding business. Born and raised in Versailles, many of the boxed and potted exotic plants Michaux collected from around the world ended up in one garden, The Palace of Versailles.
The Friends of Andre Michaux commissioned Smith to create the mural using private donations to pay for the work. The project was eight years in the making. The mural, which took three months to paint, was a gift presented to the Aviation Authority in October 2016.