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Europa and Calf

1956-1957 David Smith Born: Decatur, Indiana 1906 Died: Albany, New York 1965 bronze/poured and hammered on stone base 11 3/8 x 9 5/8 x 3 5/8 in. (29.0 x 24.3 x 9.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1978.30 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 49B

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Europa and Calf

Luce Center Quote

“Sculpture is made by rough characters . . . who have passed through all polish and are back to the rough again.” Artist’s statement, 1959

Luce Center Label

David Smith poured and hammered drops of molten bronze to build up the abstract shapes in Europa and Calf. The sculpture’s title recalls the Greek myth of Europa, in which Zeus transformed himself into a white bull and kidnapped the young woman while she was gathering flowers. Although this sculpture is abstract, the overall shape resembles a horned creature standing on two legs with something in its arms. The clustered drops of bronze retain their molten shapes, as if the artist had just finished manipulating the hot metal to form this strange figure.



Animal - cattle

Figure female - nude

Mythology - classical - Europa


metal - bronze