T00931 Painting 1964
Inscribed 'David Smith | ... [illegible] 23 - 3 [last figure uncertain]' t.l.
Oil on canvas laid down on plywood, 55 x 17 3/4 (139.7 x 45)
Presented anonymously 1967
Prov: Purchased by the donor from the artist
Lit: William Berkson, 'Chronology' in exh. catalogue David Smith, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass., September-November 1966, p.88
This work is one of a series of paintings of the female figure done in the last year or two of Smith's life, using friends as models. Most are strictly linear, in black paint on white priming. Only a very few, like T00931, are modelled in broad areas of pink and off-white, with thicker black lines. According to Berkson, he is said to have completed '130 or 140' paintings of nude models in 1964 in a matter of months.
The paintings were a by-product of Smith's oeuvre (though he began as a painter) and very few have been released either by him or his executors. This study had only just been completed and was still wet at the time it was purchased in late March or early April 1964.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.693-4, reproduced p.693