David Smith

born Decatur, IN 1906-died Albany, NY 1965
Media - portrait_image_113669.jpg - 90357
Courtesy Sam Meulendyke. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Also known as
  • David Roland Smith
Decatur, Indiana, United States
Albany, New York, United States
Active in
  • Bolton Landing, New York, United States
  • New York, New York, United States
  • American

David Smith left home at sixteen and worked as a welder and riveter in an automobile plant. In 1926 he moved to New York and studied at the Art Students League. He started making three-dimensional works a few years later, inspired by the welded metal sculptures of Pablo Picasso and Julio González. Smith used the skills he acquired during his work at the factory to create freestanding constructions from welded scraps of metal. In 1940 he moved to a former farm near Bolton Landing, New York, and built a studio, which he named Terminal Iron Works. He worked there for the rest of his life, welding and forging large structures from old farm tools, machine parts, and fabricated steel. In 1965, Smith was involved in a car accident in Vermont; he later died in a hospital in Albany, New York, at the age of fifty-nine.

Related Books

Crosscurrents: Modern Art from the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Collection
In eighty-eight striking paintings and sculptures, Crosscurrents captures modernism as it moved from early abstractions by O’Keeffe, to Picasso and Pollock in midcentury, to pop riffs on contemporary culture by Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud, and Tom Wesselmann—all illustrating the complexity and energy of a distinctly American modernism.