NEW YORK – Craig F. Starr Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition David Smith: Don Quixote, on view from February 19 - April 3, 2010. Comprising more than a dozen works, many of which have never before been exhibited, this show presents the first comprehensive treatment of this subject in Smith’s oeuvre. Dating from 1952 and 1954, Smith’s engagement with the theme of Don Quixote reflects the artist’s personal response to the Spanish Civil War.
Born in Decatur, Indiana in 1906, Smith attended Ohio University and the University of Notre Dame before moving to New York and joining the Students Art league of New York in 1927. In 1950, he was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which freed him from teaching and other jobs. During this decade, Smith expanded the scale of his sculptures and increasingly experimented with materials, such as the egg ink used for several of the Don Quixote drawings.
Smith’s interest in Don Quixote was shared by other vanguard artists that he admired, such as Julio González and Pablo Picasso (although Smith’s renditions of Quixote precede Picasso’s). Smith depicts Don Quixote as a figure in motion, engaged in combat or falling from his horse. It is worth noting, however, that even in those images in which Quixote is shown in the act of falling, he nevertheless remains on his horse, a choice that subtly deflects the implications of the fallen hero. And unlike other depictions of Quixote which focus on the knight’s mental and physical instability, Smith does not include any large-looming enemies such as windmills.
The show is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue that includes a catalogue raisonne of Smith’s works on this theme and an introductory essay by Ana Laguna, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Rutgers University, and author of Cervantes and the Pictorial Imagination, Bucknell University Press, 2009.