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  • David Smith - Voltri VII 1962 Steel sculpture

    David Smith
    Voltri VII
    1962
    Steel

    National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund

  • David Smith - Voltri XVI 1962 Steel sculpture

    David Smith
    Voltri XVI 1962
    Steel

    The Estate of David Smith, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

  • David Smith - Voltri-Bolton X 1962 Steel sculpture

    David Smith
    Voltri-Bolton X 1962
    Steel

    Collection of Jerome and Ellen Stern, New York

In 1962 Smith was invited by the Italian government to make two sculptures for a festival in Spoleto. An Italian steel company gave Smith access to an abandoned welding factory in the town of Voltri, and he set up a studio there. Smith described ‘the beauties of the forge shop, parts dropped partly forged, cooled now but stopped in progress – as if the human factor had dissolved and the great dust settled.’

In a burst of creativity he made 27 sculptures in 30 days using scrap metal, objects and abandoned tools found in the studio. Smith’s Voltri works were shown to great effect in the magnificent amphitheatre and in the surrounding streets of Spoleto. This evocative setting brought out their rich references to the Greeks and Roman classical tradition as well as other sources of ancient art.