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David Smith

Smith, David, 1906–65, American sculptor, b. Decatur, Ind. He arrived in New York City in 1926 and studied painting at the Art Students League. In the 1930s he began experimenting with sculpture and after 1935 he worked primarily in this medium. His mature works, in wrought iron and cut steel and often monumental in scale, exhibit abstract geometrical imagery and constructivist diagramming of space. Smith's sculptures were often created in series, e.g., Agricola (1952), Forging (1955), Zigs (1961), and Voltri (1962). His open constructions, such as Hudson River Landscape (Ogunquit Mus., Maine), stress the play of sculptural silhouettes against directional lines. Other works include abstract variations of natural subjects, such as Cockfight (Whitney Mus., New York City), and open, totemlike forms that frequently incorporate miscellaneous "found" objects.

See R. E. Krauss, Terminal Ironworks: The Sculpture of David Smith (1971); studies by K. Wilkin (1984), I. Sandler et al. (1999), and S. Nash and C. Smith (2005).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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