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David Smith

Biography
Video

David Smith was an early Abstract Expressionist sculptor who welded steel into large geometric works. Throughout Smith’s career, he also created paintings and drawings that utilized Abstract Expressionist techniques. “Art is a paradox that has no laws to bind it,” the artist once mused. “When art exists it becomes tradition. When it is created, it represents a unity that did not exist before.” Born on March 9, 1906 in Decatur, IN, Smith grew up in Ohio and attended Ohio University in Athens, but then transferred to the University of Notre Dame. The summer in between the artist worked at an automobile factory, where he learned welding skill he would later use for his art. After going into finance and moving to Washington, D.C., Smith studied poetry at George Washington University, but promptly left to focus on art. In 1927, the artist moved to New York and joined the Art Students League, where he was exposed to the works of European artists such as Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and Wassily Kandinsky. He befriended many American Abstract Expressionist artists, including Jackson Pollock. Smith died in a car accident near Bennington, VT on May 23, 1965 at the age of 59. Today, his works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, among others.