top of page

Interview: Ed Smith, Walter Biggs collector

Ed Smith is a business owner in the Roanoke Valley where I grew up. He is also an art collector. One of his favorite local artists is an illustrator from Salem, Walter Biggs. I was asked to create a website for him to share his collection of the published works of Walter Biggs. .

Ed, how long have you been interested in art?

In 1978 I owned an art gallery in Tanglewood mall that began as a frame shop in the French Quarters. Through that shop I developed an interest in art auctions which helped to refine my taste in art.

Who was one of the artists that you were initially interested in?

One of the first local artists that I took an interest in was Harold Little from Fincastle. I began collecting some of his etchings.

When did you first notice the work of Walter Biggs?

The Taudman Museum put out an exhibit of about twenty artists that made a difference in the Roanoke Valley. I decided to set the goal of collecting one piece of each of those artists.

Then I realized how prolific an artist Walter Biggs was over six decades. Norman Rockwell preceded him in the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame only by a few years.

Who is one of your favorites now after years of collecting?

My favorite artist is Vance Miller who was the artist in residence at the Greenbrier at one time. He grew up in my hometown of Princeton, West Virginia. He did not start painting until his forties and he used old window blinds as his canvas.

How did you get so interested in Walter Biggs?

I was in a dusty old antique store in New York City and saw an etching that was not well taken care of leaning against a wall. I asked the shopkeeper about it and they thought it was a poster from a play in the city. I knew it was an original work of Walter Biggs. I took it home and had it restored. It hangs in my home now, The Meanest Man in the World. The more I learned about his illustrations, the more my interest increased. There are over one thousand images in my online collection.

Learn more about Walter Biggs and Ed Smith's collection at

1 comentariu

28 iun.

I can see why Ed loved the Walter Bigg's art. They are beautiful! Thanks for the introduction.

bottom of page