David Smith: Sculptures: Room guide: Room 8

David Smith - Wagon II 1964 Steel sculpture outdoors

David Smith
Wagon II

Tate. Purchased with assistance from the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, the National Art Collections Fund and the Friends of the Tate Gallery, 1999

David Smith - Voltri VI 1962 Steel sculpture

David Smith
Voltri VI 1962

Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas

Smith returned from Italy at the end of June 1962 after arranging to have a large supply of old tools and machine parts from the Voltri forge shipped to Bolton Landing. Using these parts he began a series of 25 sculptures entitled Voltri-Bolton, Volton or V.B.

Smith had an enduring dream to build a sculpture as large as a train, an ambition that echoes his childhood fascination with railroads. While working in Voltri, he made a number of sculptures incorporating wheels. In these works, made using pieces of industrial carts, his work seemed to allude to ancient Roman chariots or funeral cars. Back in America, he developed this idea to create a series of Wagons, this time using trolley car wheels and evoking an American mythos of the frontier spirit. Wagon II 1964 demonstrates Smith’s ability to bend and draw in steel with apparent effortlessness, combining a sense of weight and repose with an underlying suggestion of powerful latent energy.