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    • David Smith (1906-65)


        American Sculptor

        In 1925, David Smith worked in a car factory, where he kearned welding, later useful in his sculpture. In New York he associated with Gorky, de Kooning, and Davis, producing paintings to which he attached 'found objects'. In the 1930s, influenced by Julio Gonzales's amd Picasso's sculpture, and also by Giacometti, he began working in welded steel, his chief and preferred medium, making large abstract constructions influenced by Surrealism, first in broad, flat shapes, such as Interior (1937) and Medals of Dishonour (1940) and then in cage-like figures, abstract yet anthropomorphic, such as the Royal Bird (1947-8: Minneapolis) and Agricola I (1951-2: Washington, Hirschhorn), and achieving a position equivalent to that of Pollock. In Italy in 1962, he made the Votlri series in a disused foundry ifor the 4th Festival at Spoteto, creating twenty-seven works in thirty days, using plain geometrical shapes. Voltri VI (1962: Otterlo) is an example, and one of his last works was Cubi I (1963: Detroit) in polished stainless steel. He was killed in a car crash.

        Besides those places mentioned, there are works in Chicago, Duisburg, Los Angeles, New York (M of MA, Guggenheim) and Washington (Smithsonian).

      • Source: The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists (Penguin Reference Books)


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Updated: 2006