The Easel

Curator Clare Lilley on David Smith

Seeing photographs of some Picasso metal sculptures was, for Smith, an epiphany. He went on to explore metal sculpture in a body of work that “had no precedent”. Like a collagist, “material determined imagery”, and Smith used “tools, off-cuts, boiler lids, waste and bought steel” to create works with a strong human narrative. At his funeral he was described as “delicate as Vivaldi and as strong as a Mack truck”.