Decatur, 1906 - 1965

David Smith

David Smith was born in 1906 in Decatur, Indiana. After briefly attending college at Ohio University, the University of Notre Dame, and George Washington University, he moved to New York in 1926, where he studied painting full time at the Art Students League. During the 1930s. Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Edgar Levy, Jackson Pollock, and Jean Xceron were Smith’s friends throughout the 1930s. In the Virgin Islands in 1931–32, Smith made his first sculpture from pieces of coral. He began making completely metal sculpture in 1933, and in 1934 he set up a studio at the Terminal Iron Works in Brooklyn. From 1935, Smith began to focus on sculpture, creating welded constructions by using found objects and forged metal.

Smith moved permanently to Bolton Landing, in upstate...

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Biography

David Smith was born in 1906 in Decatur, Indiana. After briefly attending college at Ohio University, the University of Notre Dame, and George Washington University, he moved to New York in 1926, where he studied painting full time at the Art Students League. During the 1930s. Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Edgar Levy, Jackson Pollock, and Jean Xceron were Smith’s friends throughout the 1930s. In the Virgin Islands in 1931–32, Smith made his first sculpture from pieces of coral. He began making completely metal sculpture in 1933, and in 1934 he set up a studio at the Terminal Iron Works in Brooklyn. From 1935, Smith began to focus on sculpture, creating welded constructions by using found objects and forged metal.

Smith moved permanently to Bolton Landing, in upstate New York, in 1940. In 1940, he settled permanently in Bolton Landing. From 1942 to 1944, Smith worked as a locomotive welder in Schenectady, New York. A solo show of his work took place at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in 1941. Smith taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, from 1948 to 1950, and at Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont, and other schools during the 1950s. About 1951, he met Kenneth Noland. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, presented a Smith retrospective in 1957 and organized a major traveling exhibition of his work in 1961. In 1962, at the invitation of the Italian government, Smith went to Voltri, near Genoa, and executed 27 sculptures for the Spoleto festival. In 1963, he began his Cubi series of monumental, geometric steel sculptures.

Smith died in a car accident near Bennington, Vermont, in 1965. Major exhibitions of his sculptures, paintings and drawings have been presented worldwide since the 1950s, including recent retrospectives at the Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo (1994); MNCA, Reina Sofía, Madrid (1996); and Storm King Art Center, New York (1997–99). A centennial retrospective organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2006) traveled to the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Tate Modern, London (2006–07).

Artworks

Volton XIV I, 1963

Related Categories

20th Century Art / Abstract Sculpture / Abstraction / American Art / Art after World War II / Art of the 1960s / Artists of All Time / Contemporary American Art / Geometric Abstraction / Geometric Forms / Sculpture / Steel / United States

Curriculum Vitae

Education

  • 1926

    Arts Students League, New York, NY.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2014

    Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith. The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA.

  • 2013

    David Smith: The Forgings. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave., New York, NY.

  • 2012

    David Smith: Points of Power. Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, Switzerland and St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2019

    Levity/Density, Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY.

  • 2015

    Prototypology: An Index of Process and Mutation. Gagosian Gallery, Rome, Italy.

  • Sprayed. Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London, England.

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Curriculum Vitae

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Education

  • 1926

    Arts Students League, New York, NY.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2014

    Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith. The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA.

  • 2013

    David Smith: The Forgings. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave., New York, NY.

  • 2012

    David Smith: Points of Power. Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, Switzerland and St. Moritz, Switzerland.

  • David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy. Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH.

  • 2011

    David Smith Invents. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

  • David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA.

  • David Smith: Drawing Space. Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

  • 2010

    David Smith. Gagosian Gallery, W. 24th St., New York, NY.

  • 2008

    David Smith: Working Surface Drawing, Painting, Sculpture: 1932-1963. Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, Switzerland.

  • 2007

    David Smith: Sprays. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave., New York, NY.

  • 2006

    David Smith: Personage. Gagosian Gallery, Britannia St., London, England.

  • David Smith: Personage. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave., New York, NY.

  • David Smith: A Centennial (curated by Carmen Giménez). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. Traveled to: Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Tate Modern, London, England (through 2007).

  • 2005

    David Smith: Paintings and Drawings 1955-1958. Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

  • David Smith: Drawing and Sculpting. Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX.

  • 2004

    David Smith: Drawings. L’Institut Valencià D’Art Modern, Valencià, Spain.

  • David Smith: Related Clues. Drawings, Paintings & Sculpture 1931–1964. Gagosian Gallery, 24th St., New York, NY.

  • 2003

    David Smith: Drawings. Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris, France.

  • Lois Orswell, David Smith, & Modern Art. Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA.

  • 2000

    David Smith: Two into Three Dimensions. Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, OR. Traveled to: Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA; Mary and Leigh Block Art Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; Lyman Allyn Museum of Art, New London, CT; National Academy of Design Museum, New York, NY.

  • David Smith: The Last Nudes. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave., New York, NY; Traveled to: Gagosian Gallery, Heddon St., London, England.

  • David Smith on the Roof. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2019

    Levity/Density, Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY.

  • 2015

    Prototypology: An Index of Process and Mutation. Gagosian Gallery, Rome, Italy.

  • Sprayed. Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London, England.

  • America Is Hard to See. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

  • Chromophobia. Gagosian Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland.

  • 2013

    Poetry and Dream. Tate Gallery, London, England.

  • Abstractions Americaines, de l’artist à son oeuvre. Fondation Fernet-Branca, Saint Louis, France.

  • 2012

    WWII & NYC. New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.

  • Bronze. Royal Academy of Arts, London, England.

  • Signs & Symbols. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

  • 2011

    Miro—Chagall—Smith—Calder. Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, Switzerland.

  • Malevich and the American Legacy. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave., New York, NY.

  • Made in Italy. Gagosian Gallery, Rome, Italy.

  • Treasures from Washington Private Collections. National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

  • 2010

    Modern in America: Works on Paper, 1900–1950s. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

  • Advancing Abstraction in Modern Sculpture. The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, MD.

  • Americans Abroad: Masterworks by Modern and Contemporary Artists. United States Embassy, London, England.

  • 2009

    Modern Masters. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave., New York, NY.

  • The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1960–1989. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY.

  • Marble. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave, New York, NY.

  • Face and Form: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture in the Meadows Collection. Meadows Museum, Dallas, TX.

  • New York New Drawings: 1946–2007. Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, Spain.

  • 2008

    Untitled (Vicarious) Photographing The Constructed Object. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Ave., New York, NY.

  • Collecting Collection: Highlights from the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA.

  • Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976. The Jewish Museum, New York; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

  • 2007

    Abstract Expressionist Drawings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

  • 2006

    Surrealism: Then and Now. Paul Kasmin & Edelman Arts, Inc., New York, NY.

  • 2005

    Babcock Galleries, New York, NY.

  • Works on Paper. Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA.

  • David Smith, Alexander Calder: Large Scale Works. Gagosian Gallery, W. 24th St., New York, NY.