Tony Smith, Source, 1967, steel, painted black, 9' 5-1/2" × 25' 1/4" × 24' 5-3/8" (288.3 cm × 762.6 cm × 745.2 cm), overall, Edition of 3 + 1 AP © Estate of Tony Smith / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Tony Smith



b. 1912, South Orange, New Jersey
d. 1980, New York


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Tony Smith considered his process to be intuitive, his work resting close to the unconscious and exploring themes of spirituality and presence in a synthesis of geometric abstraction and expressionism.

He studied painting at the Art Students League, New York (1934–36) and attended the New Bauhaus, Chicago (1937–38), before apprenticing with Frank Lloyd Wright (1938–39). For the following two decades, he worked professionally as an architect and held teaching positions at numerous institutions in New York and Vermont. In the early 1960s, Smith turned his focus to sculpture, with his architectural background informing one of his most radical innovations—having his work industrially fabricated. Widely recognized for his large-scale, modular works produced throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Smith was included in the seminal group exhibition Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum, New York, in 1966. His profound achievements in American sculpture have been honored with retrospectives of his work at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998); Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (2002); Menil Collection, Houston (2010); and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2017).


Tony Smith, Generation, 1965, cast bronze, black patina, 30-3/4" × 33" × 35-7/8" (78.1 cm × 83.8 cm × 91.1 cm), Edition of 6 + 1 AP © Estate of Tony Smith / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Tony Smith, Untitled, 1959, oil on canvas, 24" × 30" (61 cm × 76.2 cm) © Estate of Tony Smith / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York