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David Smith


Information about the artwork

  • MaterialSteel
  • Dimensions80 x 216 x 51 cm
  • On viewCurrently not exhibited
  • CopyrightVG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022 © Rheinisches Bildarchiv

for kids (and anyone else who is curious!)

Acrobat, dancer, or robot? There are so many possibilities here! The steel figure is larger than life and balances on stilts. It grows out of an element that might also remind us of an old, bent bicycle. But instead of tires we see a rectangle and twisting, awkward-looking bars. Even though the lower part is rather thin and wiry, the top piece seems to be pointing to the left. Doesn’t the upper part maybe remind you also of a leather bicycle saddle? But what kind of bumpy ride would that be, on this slight-looking frame, without tires and pedals?


The artwork is untitled and was created by the American sculptor David Smith. He made it in the 1950s. During the war, the artist worked as a welder for the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York. His steel sculptures, like “Untitled”, are made from old, discarded machine parts and tools that recall “old times,” but the shape is new and modern. When the artist created the sculpture, it was the so-called postwar era, and all over Europe people were surrounded by the massive destruction caused by air raids. The US was largely spared, people were better off there, and experienced strong economic growth. Instead of tanks, warships and airplanes, cars, refrigerators and televisions were now being made. For many, their lives now revolved around their personal happiness, as well as consumption and pleasure.

This way to the Factory

Further artworks

Artwork: "Rolling Stones – Love You Live (Mick Jagger)" from Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol Rolling Stones – Love You Live (Mick Jagger), 1975 yes Ground floor
Artwork: "Untitled (“THE MATHEMATICAL DREAM OF ASHURBANIPAL”) (Lexington)" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Untitled (“THE MATHEMATICAL DREAM OF ASHURBANIPAL”) (Lexington), 2000 yes Upper floor
Artwork: "Corridor" from Thomas Eggerer
Thomas Eggerer Corridor, 2020 yes Ground floor
Artwork: "Foraging (asphyxia version)" from Pope.L
Pope.L Foraging (asphyxia version), 1993–1995/2008 yes Ground floor
Artwork: "Hair Advertisement" from Deana Lawson
Deana Lawson Hair Advertisement, 2005 yes Lower level