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.'
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