EN
David Smith in his studio © Estate of David Smith, 2015
David Smith in his studio © Estate of David Smith, 2015

"Art is the raw stuff which comes from aggressiveness by men who got that way fighting for survival."

Among the greatest American sculptors of the twentieth century, David Smith was the first to work with welded metal. His work is characterized by a ruggedness and lack of polish, combining fragments of metal, referring to the formative experiences he had in his youth while working in a car body workshop and a welder for the American Locomotive Company during World War II. Smith studied painting and always claimed: "I belong with the painters," yet turned to three-dimensional space, making  sculptures with means of industrial manufacturing and therefore proving to be an important influence on later Minimalism. Smith fruitfully combined a range of influences from European modernism including Cubism, Surrealism, and Constructivism. Collage was an important technique, which determined his compositional strategy. Smith created sculptures through an assemblage of elements, often combining found objects like tools. The resulting heterogeneous forms are difficult to perceive in their entirety, forcing to be considered part by part. Smith also dispersed pictorial motifs around the edge of the sculpture, compelling the viewer to change positions.

One of Smith's most important formal innovations was to abandon the idea of a centralized sculpture, originating around a "core", which was pervasive in modern sculpture. Smith replaced this notion with the idea of "drawing in space." He would use thin wire to produce linear, transparent sculptures with figurative motifs at their edges. Smith´s subjects encompassed the figure and landscape, often revolving around symbols of violence, the most prominent of which bearing the form of a totem and being based on Freud´s ideas on totems. Smith also produced gestural, almost calligraphic marks made with egg yolk, Chinese ink and brushes and, in the late 1950s, the ‘sprays’. He usually signed his drawings with the ancient Greek letters delta and sigma, meant to stand for his initials.

Publications

Exhibitions

Exhibitions

Solo exhibitions
2017
David Smith: The White Sculptures

Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York, NY, USA

2016
David Smith: Form in Color

Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland

2015
David Smith: Drawing and Sculpture. Acting in Space

Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, France

2015
Giacometti – Smith

Ordovas Gallery, London, UK

2014
Helen Frankenthaler and David Smith

Craig F. Starr Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2014
Raw Color. The Circles of David Smith

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, USA

2013
David Smith. The Forgings

Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2012
David Smith. Cubes and Anarchy

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, USA; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, USA

2011
David Smith. Paintings and Works on Paper from the 1950s

American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich, Germany

2011
David Smith. Drawing Space

Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2011
David Smith. Cubes and Anarchy

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2011
David Smith Invents

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., USA

2011
David Smith. Un diálogo sobre la escultura

IVAM, Centro Julio González, Valencia, Spain

2010
David Smith. Don Quixote

Craig F. Starr Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2010
David Smith

Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2009
David Smith. Works on Paper

Russell Bowman Gallery, Chicago, IL, USA

2008
David Smith. Sprays

Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2006
Seeing David Smith. Photographs by Dan Budnik

Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, CT, USA; The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York, NY, USA

2006
David Smith. Sprays

American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich, Germany

2006
Seeing David Smith. Photographs by Dan Budnik

Knoedler & Company, New York, NY, USA

2006
David Smith. Personage

Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, USA; London, UK

2006
David Smith. A Centennial

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA; Centre Georges Pompidou, Museé national d'art Moderne, Paris, France; Tate Modern, London, UK

2005
David Smith / Alexander Calder. Large Scale Works

Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2005
David Smith. Paintings and Drawings 1955 – 1958

Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2005
David Smith. Drawing + Sculpting

Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX, USA

2004
David Smith, Related Clues. Drawings, Paintings and Sculpture 1931 – 1964

Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2004
David Smith: Dibujante. Entre Eros y Tánatos

IVAM, Centro Julio González, Valencia, Spain

2003
Dessins de David Smith. Un choix d'Alain Kirilii

École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Chapelle des Petits-Augins, Paris, France

2003
A Selection from the Estate. David Smith: Works on Paper 1952 – 1960

American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich, Germany

2002-03
Lois Orswell, David Smith and Modern Art

Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

2001
Jackson Pollock and David Smith. Paintings and Sculptures from the 1930s and the 1940s

Washburn Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2000
David Smith. The Last Nudes

Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, USA; London, UK

2000-01
David Smith. Two into Three Dimensions

Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, USA (organized by Arts Management Services / American Federation of Arts, New York, USA); Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, USA; Mary and Leigh Block Art Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA; Lyman Allyn Museum of Art, Connecticut College, New London, USA; National Academy of Design Museum, New York, USA

2000
David Smith on the Roof

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA

1999
David Smith. Paintings, Sculptures and Medals

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

1999
The Fields of David Smith

Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York, NY, USA

1998
David Smith. Photographs 1931 – 1965

Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY, USA; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA

1998
The Fields of David Smith

Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York, NY, USA

1998
Painted Steel. The Late Works of David Smith

Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, USA

1997-98
David Smith. Medals for Dishonor

Columbus Museum of Art, OH, USA (organized by Independent Curators Inc., New York, USA); DePree Art Center, Hope College, Holland, Michigan & Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA, USA

1997
The Fields of David Smith

Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York, NY, USA

1996
David Smith and Italy: Voltri Landscapes and Sprays

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TE, USA

1996
David Smith in Italy

Knoedler & Co, New York, NY, USA

1996
David Smith in Italy

Prada MilanoArte, Milan, Italy

1996
David Smith. "This Work Is My Identity

Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

1996
"Replacing the Shower of Sparks with the Spray of Paint". David Smith. Sprays and Drawings

Hill Gallery, Birmingham, MI, USA

1996
David Smith

IVAM, Centro Julio González, Valencia & Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

1995
David Smith. The Inspiration of Music

Washburn Gallery, New York, NY, USA

1995
David Smith. To and From the Figure

Knoedler Gallery, New York, NY, USA; Akira Ikeda Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1994
David Smith. The Charcoal Drawings: 1958

Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA

1994
David Smith. Medals for Dishonor, 1937 – 1940

Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY, USA

1994
David Smith

Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan; Prefectural Museum of Art, Shizuoka, Japan; The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga & Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Chiba, Japan

1992
David Smith. Sculpture and Drawings

Knoedler & Company, New York, NY, USA

Group exhibitions
2020
Identities

Galerie Karsten Greve AG, St. Moritz, Switzerland

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