DETAIL : COLOGNE SCHOOL Germany Virgin and Child with Saints [Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel) Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel)]
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David SMITH | 25 planes
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David SMITH
United States of America 1906 – 1965
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25 planes 1958
stainless steel
350.5 (h) x 169.5 (w) x 40.0 (d) cm
inscribed on steel plaque fastened to leg of sculpture, "David Smith/ 7.13.58/ 25 planes"
Purchased 1978
NGA 1978.31
© David Smith. Licensed by VAGA & VISCOPY, Australia
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Biography

David Smith was born on 9 March 1906 in Decatur, Indiana. He moved with his family to Paulding, Ohio, in 1921 and studied at Ohio University (1924-25). In 1925 he worked in the Studebaker factory in South Bend, Indiana, learning to weld and work a lathe. Smith moved to New York in 1926, where he enrolled in evening classes at the Art Students League, becoming a full-time student in 1927. He bought land at Bolton Landing, New York, in 1929, and worked there each summer. This brought him into contact with John Graham, who introduced him to Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and other artists. Smith began attaching found objects to his paintings but soon progressed to sculpture, making his first works in welded steel in 1932. He visited Europe in 1935. His first solo exhibition was held at the East River Gallery, New York, in 1938. Smith moved permanently to Bolton Landing in 1940. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held at Willard and Buchholz Galleries, New York, in1946. He was awarded a scholarship from the Guggenheim Foundation in 1950 (renewed in 1951), which enabled him to work exclusively on his sculpture. He began working in series at this time, exploring one idea at a time in a methodical way. His work toured Europe in the group exhibition 'Douze Peintres et Sculpteurs Americains Contemporains', organised by the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1953. He also showed his work in the Venice biennales of 1954 and 1958. In 1957 he was given a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a further exhibition organised in 1961 by the Museum of Modern Art toured throughout American museums. In 1962 he was invited to Italy for the Festival of Two Worlds at Spoleto, and worked at Voltri to produce a series of works. Smith's work was much exhibited at this time, predominantly in the United States. He died in a car crash near Bennington, Vermont, on 23 May 1965.

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