Born January 15, 1940 in St. Ignatius, a small town on the Flathead Reservation on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Indian Reservation, Montana, Jaune Quick–to–See Smith is an internationally renowned painter, printmaker and artist. Her first name comes from the French word for "yellow" (jaune), from her French-Cree ancestry. Her middle name "Quick-to-See" was given by her Shoshone grandmother as a sign of her ability to grasp things readily.
She earned a BA in Art Education from Framingham State College, Massachusetts, and an MA in Art from the University of New Mexico. Smith has been awarded four honorary doctorates from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, Massachusetts College of Art and the University of New Mexico. In 2015 she received an honorary degree in Native American Studies from Salish Kootanai College, Pablo, MT.
Smith has been creating complicated abstract paintings and lithographs since the 1970s. She employs a wide variety of media, working in painting, printmaking and richly textured mixed media pieces. Such images and collage elements as commercial slogans, sign-like petroglyphs, rough drawing, and the inclusion and layering of text are unusually intersected into a complex vision created out of the artist’s personal experience. Her works contain strong, insistent socio-political commentary that speaks to past and present cultural appropriation and abuse, while identifying the continued significance of the Native American peoples. She addresses today’s tribal politics, human rights and environmental issues with humor.