Tanktotem I

Dark abstract sculpture composed of two rounded shapes atop long slender rods.
© Estate of David Smith.

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  • Dark abstract sculpture composed of two rounded shapes atop long slender rods.

Date:

1952

Artist:

David Smith
American, 1906-1965

About this artwork

For David Smith, steel was the quintessential modern material of the 1950s—a symbol of progress, movement, power, destruction, and brutality. Following the Cubist model, Smith combined various industrial pieces, often discarded scraps, into an open network of abstract forms. In the early 1950s, he began conceiving his sculptures as parts of titled groups, which allowed him to explore multiple permutations of a single theme. Tanktotem is a series in which Smith incorporated boiler parts and cylindrical steel tank parts that he purchased from a catalog. With their characteristic upright forms, these works straddle the boundary between the human figure and abstract sign.

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Contemporary Art

Artist

David Smith

Title

Tanktotem I

Origin

United States

Date

1952

Medium

Steel

Dimensions

228 × 99 × 42 cm (89 3/4 × 39 × 16 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Jay Steinberg and Muriel Kallis Steinberg in memory of her father, Maurice Kallis

Reference Number

1953.193

Copyright

© Estate of David Smith.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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