David Roland Smith (American, 1906–1965) was an early Abstract Expressionist sculptor, who welded large steel abstract and geometric works. Born in Indiana, Smith grew up in Ohio and attended Ohio University and the University of Nortre Dame, but abandoned his studies to become an automobile welder in Indiana. In 1927, Smith moved to New York and joined Art Students League, where he was exposed to the works of European artists such as Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872–1944), and Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944), and became friends with American Abstract Expressionist artists, including Willem de Kooning (American/Dutch, 1904–1997) and Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956). Influenced in particular by Spanish Cubists Picasso and Julio González (1876–1942), Smith began to weld his own abstract works from steel and scrap metal, which merged the constructed influence of the Cubists with a Surrealist emphasis on psychology. In 1940, Smith and his wife moved to upstate New York, where he created the Terminal Iron Works studio, allowing him eventually to expand the size of his welded sculptures. During World War II, when resources were scarcer, Smith briefly shifted his focus to painting, but after the war he returned to his sculptural production. The artist received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in 1950, which alleviated his financial situation and paved the way for larger works and more series, such as his famous Cubi, Tanktotem, and Voltri. His productivity and fame increased over the next decade and a half, as he held a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and received a commission from the Italian government, but his life tragically ended in a car crash in 1965.