Hassel Smith
Untitled 1959

Artwork details

Hassel Smith 1915–2007
Date 1959
Medium Oil paint and enamel on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1803 x 1245 mm
Acquisition Presented by Allan D. Emil through the American Friends of the Tate Gallery 1960
Not on display

Catalogue entry

Hassel Smith born 1915

T00383 Untitled 1959

Inscribed 'Hassel Smith | 1959' on back of canvas, and 'up' with an arrow
Oil and semi-gloss enamel on canvas, 71 x 49 (180.5 x 124.5)
Presented by Allan D. Emil through the American Friends of the Tate Gallery 1960
Prov: With Gimpel Fils, London (purchased from the artist); Allan D. Emil, New York
Exh: Hassel Smith: Paintings, Gimpel Fils, London, April 1960 (14, repr.)
Repr: The Friends of the Tate Gallery: Annual Report 1960-1961 (London 1961), between pp.12 and 13

The artist wrote (27 April 1961): 'It was executed in a combination of conventional oil-color and semi-gloss enamel (the American equivalent of Ripolin, I believe).

'I wish I could tell you something in detail about this painting, its conception, etc. As it happens my "methods" preclude verbal recapitulation. I do recall that I spent an awfully long time on this painting and that in an earlier stage of its development there was additional eventfulness. Thus it is an example of a trajectory of change characteristic of many of my paintings. I often begin by "making" a lot of "things" - packing the area with events - and then proceed (compulsively rather than by formal plan or choice) to eliminate, cut-up, regroup, etc., always in the direction of greater asperity of effect.

'In this particular painting I notice hoof-like forms which seem to relate it in my mind with an earlier painting (also shown at Gimpel Fils), a painting called "Variations on a War-Like Theme". The imagery in the earlier painting is more complete but in both there seems to be a suggestion of the Flying Horse (dragon), warrior, destructive apocalyptic presence etc.'

Published in:
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.694-5, reproduced p.694

About this artwork