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Miles Smith
Pike Decoy
about 1974
painted wood with metal and glass
7 5/8 x 37 1/2 x 6 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Smith, who worked for many years as a shipwright, developed a deep affection for the wildlife of the St. Clair River in his native Michigan. He made his first duck and fish decoys for his own use, but in the late 1970s, his work attracted wider recognition and began to sell. He acknowledges that other carvers make more realistic decoys, but prefers his personal approach, which includes working on a grand scale. In this carving of a pike he emphasizes the fish's wary glance and the sharp teeth in its open mouth.