American Contemporary Art Gallery

A Selection from The Estate: 'David Smith - Works on Paper 1952-1960' Sep 12, 2003 - Jan 31, 2004

A Selection from The Estate: 'David Smith - Works on Paper 1952-1960' Sep 12, 2003 - Jan 31, 2004

est 7357 174 by david smith

David Smith

Est 7357 174, 1957

est 7352 122 by david smith

David Smith

Est 7352 122, 1952

est 7352 028 by david smith

David Smith

Est 7352 028, 1952

Friday, September 12, 2003


American Contemporary Art Gallery Munich, in conjunction with the estate of the artist, is pleased to present for the first time a selection of works on paper from 1952-1960 by the American artist David Smith.

About the artist:

1906 born in Decatur, Indiana, USA

1965 died near Bennington, Vermont, USA.

David Smith is a very important figure of twentieth century American sculpture.
Through his friendships with painters Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky and others, he became identified with the New York School and as a sculptor is a three dimensional representative of that dynamic movement.

An early interest in nature, as well as the industrial surroundings of his childhood, and a stint as a welder in the Studebaker assembly plant left him in good stead for his mature works, which he constructed out of found scrap metal and fragments of agricultural machinery.

Smith moved to New York in 1926 to attend classes at the Arts Students League, where he studied with John Sloan and privately with Jan Matulka. His concentration on painting and figure drawing gave him a solid foundation to develop sculpturally when John Graham introduced him to the welded steel sculptures of Picasso and Julio Gonz‡las. These realizations allowed him to see a relationship between drawing and sculpture, provoking a transition from the illusionistic and gestural nature of drawing to the objectified reality of his sculpture.

His artistic talent and the industrial skills of metalworking enabled him to create his first welded sculpture in the mid 1930s. These pieces owe a debt of influence to the European Constructivists as well as the Cubism of Picasso and Braque.

Smith embraced the rise of American Abstract Expressionism, and, from the late 40s into the 50s, he expanded the scale of his sculpture and also continued to devote himself to his life long practice of brush and ink drawing. Though vaguely influenced by Japanese brush painting, by 1957 he had developed personal statements in the medium, such as his three-dimensional calligraphic drawings and a special emulsion of ink and egg yoke, which produced a unique translucency. This same year (1957) the Museum of Modern Art honored Smith with his first retrospective.

American Contemporary Art Gallery is presenting a selection of these important works on paper from the years 1952-1960 and will feature examples of the egg-ink drawings as well as three pieces from the Museum of Modern ArtÕs retrospective. The period of work encompassed by this exhibition offers an opportunity to see a spectrum of works from the cubisticly oriented to expressive experimental freeform elements and represent David Smith at the height of his artistic skill.