Tony Smith  (American, 1912-1980) 

Tony Smith (American, 1912–1980) was a Minimalist sculptor, architect, and painter known for his large-scale modular sculptural works. After studying architecture at the New Bauhaus in Chicago with László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895–1946), György Kepes (American/Hungarian, 1906–2001), and Alexander Archipenko (Ukrainian, 1887–1964), Smith worked for Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867–1959) as an office clerk, before establishing his own architectural practice. Smith became friends with the American Abstract Expressionist artists Barnett Newman (1905–1970), Jackson Pollock (1912–1956), and Mark Rothko (1903–1970), and in the 1960s turned to sculpture. One of Smith’s early works, Die (1962), is a black box with dimensions determined by the size of the human body with arms and legs outstretched, suggesting that the work is neither monument nor object. Smith also completed several public commissions, including Light Up (1971), a bright yellow steel structure, and Smug (1973), a sculpture made of plywood triangles connected by hinges. Rather than rejecting the associative possibility of sculpture like other Minimalists, Smith suggested that even his most austere geometric work could connect with the natural world. Amaryllis (1965), a tetrahedron made of black steel, was initially inspired by the shape of the eponymous plant. Smith’s work is included in several international collections, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1998.

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Tony Smith, For P.C.


Tony Smith
For P.C.

Heather James Fine Art
Tony Smith, Untitled


Tony Smith
circa 1962

Vered Gallery
Tony Smith, Untitled


Tony Smith

Matthew Marks Gallery
Tony Smith, Untitled


Tony Smith

Matthew Marks Gallery
Tony Smith, Source


Tony Smith

Matthew Marks Gallery
Tony Smith, Spitball


Tony Smith

Artspace II
Tony Smith, Free Ride


Tony Smith
Free Ride

Matthew Marks Gallery
Tony Smith, Duck


Tony Smith

Matthew Marks Gallery
Tony Smith, Untitled


Tony Smith

Matthew Marks Gallery
Past auction results (129)  View All
Tony Smith, Model for Generation


Tony Smith
Model for Generation, 1958
painted foam core


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Tony Smith, New Piece


Tony Smith
New Piece, 1966
multiple. black lacquered wood


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Tony Smith, Atlanta


Tony Smith
Atlanta, 1980
bronze w/black patina


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1912   Born in South Orange, New Jersey
1934 - 1936   Art Students League, New York
1937 - 1938   Architecture Course at Bauhaus School Chicago
1980   Died in New York
  Selected Solo Exhibitions:
  2004, Menil Collection, Houston TX
  2004, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, 'Paintings and Drawings', Los Angeles/CA
  2004, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York NY
  2004, Hunter College/Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, 'Tony Smith: Tau', New York/NY
  2004, Timothy Taylor Gallery, 'Tony Smith: Wall', London/GB
  2003, Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Zürich
  2003, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York NY
  2002, Valencian Institute of Modern Art, 'Tony Smith', Valencia
  2002, Timothy Taylor Gallery, 'Tony Smith', London
  2002, Grant/Selwyn Fine Art, 'Tony Smith', Los Angeles
  2002, Matthew Marks Gallery, 'Tony Smith for Sereies', New York
  2001, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 'Tony Smith: Paintings and Sculpture. 1960-65', New York
  2001, Robert Henry Adams Fine Art, 'Tony Smith Paintings: A survey of early work from the 1930's and 40's', Chicago
  2000, Middlebury College Museum of Art, 'Tony Smith's Smog: A New Sculpture for Middlebury', Vermont
  1999, Paula Cooper Gallery, 'Tony Smith: Stinger', New York
  1998, The Museum of Modern Art, 'Tony Smith: Architect, Painter, Sculptor', New York
  1998, Paula Cooper Gallery, 'Tony Smith: Paintings 1959-60 and Sculpture', New York
  1998, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, 'Tony Smith's Sculpture: Through Drawings and Photograph', New York
  1998, Public Art Fund and the Museum of Modern Art, 'Tony Smith in the City', New York
  Selected Group Exhibitions:
  2005, Albright-Know Art Gallery, 'Abstraction', Buffalo/NY
  2005, Pacewildenstein, 'Logical Conclusions. 40 years of rule-based art', New York
  2004, James Kelly Contemporary, 'Fresh: Works on Paper', Santa Fe NM
  2004, MOCA California Plaza, 'A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958 – 1968', Los Angeles CA
  2003, Museum of Fine Arts, 'Visions of Modern Art. Painting and Sculpture from The Museum of Modern Art', Houston
  2002, Valencian Institute of Modern Art, 'Tony Smith', Valencia
  2002, Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, 'The Smiths: Tony, Kiki, Seton', Lake Worth
  2001, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Cruxelles, 'Abstraction: the Amerindian Paradigm', Brussel [travelled to Institiuto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia]
  2001, Matthew Marks Gallery, 'Tenth Anniversary Exhibition: 100 Drawings and Photographs', New York
  2000, Nassau Conty Museum of Art, 'Convergence: The Maptons Since Pollock', Roslyn Harbor/NY
  2000, Museum Folkwang, 'Bauhaus: Dessau-Chicago-New York', Essen
  2000, The Museum of Modern Art, 'Open Ends: Minimalism and After', New York
  1999, John Berggruen Gallery, 'Line, Color, Form', San Francisco
  1999, New York Studio School, 'Another Form: Drawing into Sculpture', New York
  1999, Nassau County Museum of Art, '20th Century Sculpture', Roslyn Harbor/NY
  1999, Paula Cooper Gallery, 'Paintings: A Selected View', New York
  1999, Heckscher Museum of Art, 'Shaping a Generation: The art and Artists of Betty Parsons', Huntington/NY
  1998, The Museum of Modern Art, 'Elements of the Natural', New York
   Falconer, Morgan, Tony Smith: Wall, Timothy Taylor Gallery, The Architects’ Journal, 30.9.04, p.49
   Anderson, Hephzibah, Tony Smith: Wall, Timothy Taylor Gallery, Metro Life, Evening Standard, 10.9.04
   Coomer, Martin, Tony Smith, Timothy Taylor Gallery, Time Out, Sept 22-29, 2004