Art: The Belligerent Balladry of a Master Welder

DAVID SMITH rejoiced in the clatter of the Iron Age. In his workshop at Bolton Landing, on Lake George in upstate New York, he welded junk steel and polished aluminum into powerful abstractions. Before he was killed in a car crash at the age of 59 in 1965, many critics considered him the most important sculptor working in America. Smith had rarely talked about his work in public, though he often scribbled his thoughts in his notebooks.

Many of his words have now been assembled in David Smith, by David Smith, edited by Cleve...

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