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Remembering David Smith, The Welding Artist

Remembering David Smith, The Welding Artist

Have you ever stood back to look at a job well done and thought 'Now that's a piece of art'? But, when exactly does that perceived art actually become art? Is everything art, in some form?

The great sculptor David Smith took his art from the workshop to the gallery, and in this modern age where art comes in virtually any form, what's to stop you from releasing your creativity and having a go?

David Smith was born on 9th March 1906, in Decatur, Indiana, USA. After graduating from high school, Smith made a couple of attempts at higher education, but dropped out through lack of interest. Art was already in his veins, but he was looking for a vehicle and direction in which to express it. He studied art briefly at George Washington University before moving to New York in 1926, where he met his future wife. He began studying at the Art Students League of New York, where he became acquainted with the teacher and modernist painter, Jan Matulka. It was Matulka that introduced Smith to the works of Picasso, and before long he fell in love with the great artist's welded sculptures.

David Smith Welding Sculptor

Smith studied the works of his favourite artists extensively, and eventually created his first sculpture in 1932, using coral. Later that year he installed a forge and anvil in his New York home; David Smith had found his calling. Smith began creating more and more intricate welded sculptures, which are believed to be the first created in the USA. He gradually separated himself from the art community, preferring instead to remain secluded on his farm, surrounded by stacks of various metals, so he could concentrate on his work. Working fervently with his oxyacetylene torch, Smith gradually filled the fields around his studio with elaborate sculptures.

David Smith Artist

During the Second World War, David Smith was forced to spend less time on his art, as he contributed to the war effort by turning his welding tools to assembling locomotives and tanks. When the war was over, Smith emerged with fresh skills and zeal, very quickly establishing his very own brand of sculpture, which began to bring him some recognition. As the years rolled by, David Smith began to undertake larger and larger projects, as his work became more popular. He began working on series of sculptures, and introduced interesting techniques to his work, such as burnishing his steel works with a sander, which is a stand-out feature of his famous Cubi series from the early 1960s.

David Smith died in a car crash in 1965, aged 59. To this day, his works of welded art are still extensively toured, as people continue to enjoy his unique brand of sculpture.

Posted by Premier Welding


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