Lawrence Beall-Smith was born in Washington, D.C., in 1909. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1931. He spent his summers in Boston and Gloucester, Massachusetts, studying under Hard Zimmerman and Ernest Thurn, to further his art education.
During his long career he established himself as both a painter and an illustrator. In the 1930s he became known for his lithographs, which were distributed by the Associated American Artists. This organization promoted the art of printmaking to the general public. He also began a connection with Abbott Laboratories by producing posters for the war effort, most of which were war bond posters for the Treasury Department.
In 1944 Abbott Laboratories commissioned him as a war corespondent to cover the activities of the Medical Corps in Europe. He also witnessed the D-Day landings in Normandy. Following World War II, he continued to develop as an artist, working as a book illustrator, portrait painter, and printmaker. In the 1940s, he founded the Katonah Gallery (now the Katonah Museum) in Westchester County, New York, where he exhibited his work for many years.