Wini Smart art show to be held at Power House on March 16 Some works have never been seen before

March 13, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

STAFF REPORT
When Wini Smart died in 2017, she left not only her wonderful paintings but a group of wonderful stories of her life and the acquaintances she made in Boca Grande. Wini’s paintings will be shared on March 16 at the Historical Society’s show and sale. The stories shared here are in her booklet, “Boca and Me.”
Hugh Sharp allowed Wini to paint the buildings and grounds of the Hacienda. 
“There were rose gardens, a formal garden, a tennis court and a small grove of fruit trees on the property,” Wini said in her booklet. “The old style buildings and flowering vegetation were wonderful subjects but I was not allowed to exhibit the paintings while Hugh was alive!”
She also told a tale of Katherine Hepburn.
“Katherine Hepburn came in one day to buy a small piece of art.  We had just seen her wonderful movie ‘African Queen’ for the third time and I was trying to tell her how much we enjoyed it. But she didn’t want to hear a word of that. Had I read her autobiography – she wanted to know. I had recently bought a copy but had not even started it! Too bad, I missed my chance to make a good impression. I saved her check for weeks. Now I wonder why I had not made a copy, but I guess copy machines were not readily available then.”
Wini reported that Jane Englehard became a regular customer.  
“Whenever she wanted to look at paintings her secretary would call to see if the gallery was busy. If we were not, Mrs. Englehard would be right down. Her bodyguard stood at the door as she shopped. One year she treated all her help to a framed art work of mine. With over a dozen employees, that made my year for sure!”
Later Wini was invited to Mrs. Engelhard’s home in Far Hills, New Jersey.  The assignment was to copy a Monet painting she planned to sell, but still wanted a duplicate.  
Wini said, “I immersed myself in Monet’s art and his biography and tried to think like the great artist.”  
The original Monet later sold for $16 million at auction.  
Wini closes Boca and Me with a reminiscence about her time in Boca Grande.  
“Yes, painting can be work but pleasurable too. The best time of all is to have a quiet time by the colorful Gulf, enjoying the breeze and sunshine, soaking in the surrounding beauty.  Then to capture for a time that beauty on paper or canvas. I can personally call this island paradise.”
The show and sale of 19 original Wini Smart paintings (some never shown before) is Monday, March 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Boca Bay Power House. Tickets ($75) are limited and available to Boca Grande Historical Society members at the History Center (in the same building as Boca Bargains) or by phone 964-1600 or at the website bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com.  Champagne, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Payments for the paintings must be by check.  Wini directed that a portion of the proceeds of the paintings will be donated to the Historical Society.