Clarice Rae Smith

January 16, 1933 ~ December 9, 2021 (age 88)



January 16, 1933 – December 9, 2021

Clarice R. Smith, artist, philanthropist and beloved member of the Washington, DC, area community, passed away peacefully on December 9, 2021, from natural causes.  Born 88 years ago in Washington, DC, she was a true Washingtonian, attending Amidon Elementary School, MacFarlane Middle School and Roosevelt High School.  At 19, she met her future husband, Robert H. Smith, and they married in 1952.  She continued her education, attending the University of Maryland then paused for a time to have her three children.  She resumed her studies in 1974, receiving a BA and MFA from the George Washington University where she was a member of the Art Department faculty from 1980 to 1987.  In 2012, Mrs. Smith was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the George Washington University and in 2015 she was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Maryland.

She painted professionally for over 40 years and had numerous solo exhibitions in prestigious galleries in the United States and in major cities around the world.  Her work is represented by the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York City.

Best known as a traditional painter, she primarily worked in oil.  She was prolific and enjoyed painting portraits, florals, landscapes, still-lifes and scenes of horses and sport.  In recent years, she became interested in stained glass and learned the intricacies of that medium.  Working with the renowned Venturella Studios in New York City, she was commissioned by the New-York Historical Society to create several pieces, including a beautiful stained-glass window for an oculus in their Grand Hall.  She was also proud of her 2016 collaboration with metal sculptor Albert Paley to produce their work entitled “Triptych.”  Most recently, Mrs. Smith added book illustrator to her list of credits working with her son and long-time collaborator, the writer David Bruce Smith.  Together they produced a well-received series of historical books for children, the newest entitled “Abigail and John” Adams.

Her passion for opera was a big part of her life and she usually had her radio tuned to the opera station as she painted in her studio.  The Clarice Smith Opera Series at the Kennedy Center’s Washington National Opera brought her great pleasure over the years along with the accompanying lectures.  It was created by her husband, in her honor, with a special emphasis on opera as an art form that combines the visual and musical arts.

Mrs. Smith was an avid reader who enjoyed sharing and discussing books of all sorts, with her family and friends.  She also loved her many years searching for and collecting fine art, especially 17th Century Dutch Art and Renaissance Bronzes, with her husband and soulmate, often while on their travels abroad.  Their shared interests also guided them in their vast philanthropic work as they sought to support the arts, education, American history, and medical research. 

Mrs. Smith was preceded in death by her husband, Robert H. Smith, her son Steven C. Smith and her daughter, Michelle Smith.  She is survived by her son, David Bruce Smith, of Bethesda, MD; her brother, Gerald Chasen and his wife, Jo Ann Chasen of Potomac, MD; her granddaughter, Stacy Smith Liss of Los Angeles, CA; her grandson, Michael Smith Liss and his wife Lauren Lamb of Bluemont, VA; her granddaughter, Alexandra Smith Lipp and her husband Jordan Lipp of Arlington, VA; her grandson, Max Smith and his wife Rachael Smith of Virginia Beach, VA; her sister-in-law, Arlene R. Kogod and her husband Robert P. Kogod of Washington, DC; and her five great-grandchildren; Leon, Maddox, Axel, Beckham and Quinn.

A graveside funeral service and burial will be held on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, at 12 Noon, at Judean Gardens, 16255 Batchellors Forest Road, Olney, MD 20832 with Shiva immediately following the service.

Memorial contributions may be made in her honor to the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School ( to benefit their Arts Programs, or the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins (


Graveside Service
December 15, 2021

12:00 PM
Judean Memorial Gardens
16225 Batchellors Forest Road
Olney, MD 20832

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