Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Smith from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

David Smith 1906–1965 Am. sculptor


Summary Article: Smith, David
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

1906–65, American sculptor, b. Decatur, Ind. He arrived in New York City in 1926 and studied painting at the Art Students League. In the 1930s he began experimenting with sculpture and after 1935 he worked primarily in this medium. His mature works, in wrought iron and cut steel and often monumental in scale, exhibit abstract geometrical imagery and constructivist diagramming of space. Smith's sculptures were often created in series, e.g., Agricola (1952), Forging (1955), Zigs (1961), and Voltri (1962). His open constructions, such as Hudson River Landscape (Ogunquit Mus., Maine), stress the play of sculptural silhouettes against directional lines. Other works include abstract variations of natural subjects, such as Cockfight (Whitney Mus., New York City), and open, totemlike forms that frequently incorporate miscellaneous "found" objects.

  • See Krauss, R. E., Terminal Ironworks: The Sculpture of David Smith (1971);.
  • studies by K. Wilkin (1984), I. Sandler et al. (1999), and S. Nash and C. Smith (2005).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

Related Articles


Full text Article Smith David (1906 - 1965)
A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, Andromeda

The American sculptor David Smith was born at Decatur, Indiana. He studied art first (by a correspondence course) at the Cleveland...

Full text Article Smith, David (1906 - 1965)
The Bloomsbury Guide to Art

He was born in Decatur, Indiana, and followed his father into the factories as a young man, taking a correspondence course at...

See more from Credo