The Matte-Black, Minimalist, Monumental Sculpture of Tony Smith
This is a rare early maquette from the late 1950s for Tony Smith's monumental, well known outdoor work "Generation". As Smith scholars and biographers have noted, Smith's maquettes were often done in foam core - simply because he did not have the funds to cast them until they were actually purchased! This rare work has fine provenance as it was gifted by Smith to fellow sculptor and printmaker Peter Grippe (whom Smith scholars confirm was a good friend of his) and bears a special handwritten personal inscription from the artist. Peter Grippe (August 11, 1912 – October 18, 2002) was an American sculptor, printmaker, and painter. As a sculptor, he worked in bronze, terracotta, wire, plaster, and found objects. His "Monument to Hiroshima" series (1963) used found objects cast in bronze sculptures to evoke the chaotic humanity of the Japanese city after its incineration by atomic bomb. Grippe, a member of the American Abstract Artists group. While primarily known as a sculptor working in bronze and clay, he created a portfolio of etchings by 21 artists (examples include Willem de Kooning, Jacques Lipchitz, and Peter Grippe himself) and 21 poets (including Frank O'Hara, Dylan Thomas, and Thomas Merton) in a work entitled 21 Etchings and Poems. The collective work took three years to print and was published by New York's Morris Gallery in 1960. Grippe was also the first professor of sculpture at Brandeis University -- and this very work was in fact exhibited at the renowned Rose Art Museum at University.
Check out our other listings - and FOLLOW us on Artsy:
Signature: Signed and inscribed on the underside 'Generation for Peter Grippe Tony Smith'
This work was exhibited Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Estate of Peter and Florence Grippe
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.
American, 1912-1980, South Orange, New Jersey