"The forest", steel, 1950
David Smith (1906-65) created some of the most memorable works of the twentieth century. Characterised by the use of industrial materials, especially welded iron and steel, and the exploration of an open, linear structure, his work revolutionised the art of sculpture in the United States and beyond.
Smith grew up in Indiana, the son of an engineer, and from an early age was enthralled by trains and railroads. Aged 19 he worked as a welder and riveter in a car factory, developing a deep respect for iron and steel. His work captures the spirit of America’s transition from a rural and agricultural society to an urban and industrial one.
As this new age of mechanisation took hold, Smith believed that artists should also embrace industrial materials and techniques. Discussing steel as a medium, he said: ‘What it can do in arriving at form economically, no other material can do. The metal itself possesses little art history. What associations it possesses are those of this century: power, structure, movement, progress, suspension, destruction and brutal.
Le sculpteur américain David Smith (1906-1965), proche des expressionnistes abstraits, a voulu faire de ses œuvres une «écriture transparente». Cet ouvrage met en valeur sa contribution à la réflexion sur la sculpture au XXe siècle.
Ecrits et discours, David Smith, éditions ensba, isbn : 2-840562-0788, 29 euros