David Smith 1906-1965

"I would like to make a sculpture that would rise from water and tower in the air"

One of the foremost artists of the twentieth century and the sculptor most closely linked to the Abstract Expressionist movement, David Smith is known for his use of industrial methods and materials, and the integration of open space into sculpture. As with other American Abstract Expressionists, including his friend, Jackson Pollock, Smith’s oeuvre was influenced by the Surrealist art movement. 


Over a 33-year career, Smith greatly expanded the notion of what sculpture could be, questioning its relationship with the space it was created in and its final habitat; from the artist’s atelier and art foundry into the realms of industry and nature.


In 1929 David Smith bought a dilapidated house and barn in Bolton Landing, New York on 86 acres of land. He moved there permanently in 1940. The landscape profoundly influenced Smith’s art-making practices. The Bolton Landing studio and sculpture workshop became the birthplace of many of Smith’s best-known works. 


Spanning pure abstraction and poetic figuration, Smith’s deeply humanist vision has inspired generations of sculptors for the decades since his death. Today, Smith’s sculptures are held in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York, among others.