Tony Smith

American, 1912–1980

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Tony Smith

American, 1912–1980

1,384
Followers
Biography

Tony Smith’s monumental sculptures are among Minimalism’s most iconic forms. The artist developed his style by exploring issues of scale, material, and the geometry of nature in studio prototypes for fabricated sculptures. The Minimalist works he created—which he called “interruptions in an otherwise unbroken flow of space”—were included in the genre-defining “Primary Structures” exhibition of 1966. Before turning to sculpture in the 1950s, Smith studied at the Art Students League under George Grosz and Vaclav Vytlacil and worked with architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago. In New York, he became friends with leading Abstract Expressionists Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still, who encouraged each other to push the limits of abstraction; Smith’s work, however, was more closely aligned with a younger generation of artists, including Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, and Donald Judd, who would define American art in the coming decades.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$843k, Christie's, 2009
User
Solo show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 7 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 1 more
Biography

Tony Smith’s monumental sculptures are among Minimalism’s most iconic forms. The artist developed his style by exploring issues of scale, material, and the geometry of nature in studio prototypes for fabricated sculptures. The Minimalist works he created—which he called “interruptions in an otherwise unbroken flow of space”—were included in the genre-defining “Primary Structures” exhibition of 1966. Before turning to sculpture in the 1950s, Smith studied at the Art Students League under George Grosz and Vaclav Vytlacil and worked with architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago. In New York, he became friends with leading Abstract Expressionists Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still, who encouraged each other to push the limits of abstraction; Smith’s work, however, was more closely aligned with a younger generation of artists, including Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, and Donald Judd, who would define American art in the coming decades.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$843k, Christie's, 2009
User
Solo show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 7 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 1 more
Shows Featuring Tony Smith
Articles Featuring Tony Smith
The Matte-Black, Minimalist, Monumental Sculpture of Tony Smith
Jun 5th, 2014
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