Page 17 - Studio International - August 1966
P. 17

where he lived. His retreat to the country—he did not  riveter in Indiana, made his way East to Washington,
                                  think of it as a retreat—was an act of self-confrontation.  D.C., eventually to New York City. In 1927, he began
                                  Slowly, he built and equipped a machine shop where he  to study painting at the Art Students' League; four years
                                  could make the heroic welded steel sculpture that em-  later, he turned to sculpture; in 1933, he began to weld.
                                  bodied his complex feelings. His loneliness and dedica-  The early thirties were tough years, lived in the shadow
                                  tion were the imperatives of his art; he didn't like to be  of the Depression. In America, government support for
                                  lonely and dedicated, but there it was: the sculpture he  the arts provided their buffer against poverty; and the
                                  wanted to make required this life of him; so to speak,  stimulus of partisan politics, in aid of the future, gave
                                  loneliness and dedication made his art available to him.  painting and sculpture an uneasy doctrinaireness. Like
                                   I've encapsulated what took a long time to happen.  other artists, Smith was caught up in the quarrels of
                                  Smith did not come to himself all of a sudden and light  the time. But he had already a sense of the artist's singu-
                                  out for the hills. As with so many important artists, his  larity, of his being only an individual voice and not a
                                  early years were fumbling. He was a Middle Westerner,  spokesman. Years later, he was to say when asked what
          Looking across the fields on   born in Decatur, Indiana, in 1906. He had a restless  he felt to be the significance and influence of his work,
          David Smith's mountainside
          Photo : Ed Cornachio    adolescence, studied at Ohio University, worked as a   `I don't know and I don't care. I am selfishly working to
   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22