Study in Arcs, 1957
11 ft. x 9 ft. 6 1/2 in. x 36 1/2 in. (335.3 x 290.8 x 92.7 cm)
Gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation
© 2021 The Estate of David Smith / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson
Inspired by a drawing of a mother and child, Study in Arcs metamorphosed into a less specific image as it took form. Comprised of nine long and two short arcs of steel gathered from Smith’s stockpile and welded together, the sculpture resembles a drawing in space, its sweeping lines analogous to dance or flight. Study in Arcs was composed on the artist’s studio floor, then raised up, its flat arrangement projected into three dimensions with the addition of extending arcs. The sculpture’s pale pink color contrasts boldly with its natural surroundings, while simultaneously its ample negative space integrates the outside world into the work, making it vital to the whole.