May 12, 2016 - Sale 2415

Sale 2415 - Lot 15

Estimate: $ 20,000 - $ 30,000

Etching, 1946. 120x158 mm; 4 3/4x6 1/4 inches, wide margins. The only known artist's proof; there was no published edition. Printed by the artist on his own press, Bolton Landing, New York. With an extensive inscription by the artist's wife Dorothy Dehner in pencil, left margin and verso. A superb impression of this extremely scarce, early etching with inky plate edges.

We have not found another impression at auction in the past 30 years.

Smith (1906-1965) made his first etching during a stay in Paris (he and his then wife, Dorothy Dehner, traveled through Europe from 1935 to 1936) at Atelier 17 following an introduction to Stanley W. Hayter. After returning to the United States, Smith worked in the sculpture division of the New York WPA during the late 1930s. His work was included in the Whitney Museum annual exhibition in 1941 and the "Artists for Victory" exhibition at the Metroplitan Museum of Art in 1942. Around this time, Smith bought his own etching press and began to make small-scale etchings, only several impressions of each, like Cyclists. Smith's main artistic focus was his sculpture, however; from the mid-1940s onward his three-dimensional work became larger in scale and significantly more abstract. By the end of his career, Smith had produced a body of important sculptural work, much of which is today in public collections, that places him as the most acclaimed sculptor of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Schwartz 29.