Jakob Smits (1855–1928) was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The painter was awarded the medal of Knight in the Order of Leopold in 1906, and appointed Commander in the Order of the Crown the year before his death. He took an interior decorating course at the Rotterdam Academy to help expand his father’s business. Opportunities to make “real art” took him around Europe. He studied in Brussels, Munich, Vienna, and on a trip to Rome. In 1883, he worked part-time at the Kunstnijverheidsschool, Haarlem. Smits later criticized art education, saying that it lacked depth. After winning the silver medal for his drawings at the 3rd international exhibition of Blanc et Noir in 1888, Smits was recognized abroad; however, it was not enough to make a financial difference. He finally was able to afford a studio in 1906.