Artist | Leon Polk Smith (1906 - 1996)

See also page on Wikipedia Link WorldCat-Identity Link

Artist Portfolio Catalog Overview\ 2

    • Leon Polk Smith

    • Leon Polk Smith




1906 in.Chickasha (Indianer-Territoriurn), Oklahoma geboren
1925 - 31 Arbeiter auf Baustellen im Südwesten der USA
1931 Ausbildung zum Lehrer
1936 - 38 Studium an der Columbia University, New York
1939 - 40 Reisen durch Europa und Mexiko
1934 - 39 Lehrer an der Oklahorna Public School
1939 - 42 Professor am College of Education, Universität Georgia
1943 erste abstrakte Bilder
1945 - 50 Werkgruppen: "Columns", "Articulations", "Diagonal Passages", Erfinder des Shaped Canvas
1952 - 57 Professor für Kunstgeschichte am Mills College of Education, New York
1953 - 63 Serie der "Correspondences"
1961 "Two Involvernents in one" (erstes freistehendes Bild)
seit 1970 Serie der "Constellations"
1976 - 78 Serie von 25 Gemälden in Anlehnung an streng konstruktivistische Prinzipien: Quadrat und Kreis
1979 - 81 "Form Space Series" (zweiteilige Gemälde, die unterschiedlich gehängt werden können)
1996 am 4. Dezember gestorben in New York City

Exhibitions (selection)

Exhibitions (selection)

1946 The Pinacotheca, New York
1961 Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
1965 A Decade of American Drawing, 1955 -1965, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art
1965 The Responsive Eye, New York, The Museum of Modern Art
1974 Geometric Abstraction, Omaha, Nebraska, Sheldon Art Gallery , University of Nebraska
1977 Paris-New York, Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou
1984 Leon Polk Smith, Collagen 1981 - 83, Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Katalog
1984 The Folding Image: Screens by Western Artists of the 19th and 20th Centurys, Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art
1989 Leon Polk Smith, Retrospektive, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum Ludwigshafen, Katalog
1989 Leon Polk Smith, Retrospektive, Musée de Grenoble, Katalog
1996 Leon Polk Smith, American Painter, Retrospektive, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, Katalog
1999 Leon Polk Smith, Arbeiten aus dem Besitz des Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen, Katalog

About the work

About the work

Three elements which have interested me in art are: line, color, and the concept of space and its use as a positive force.
Mondrians's discovery of the interchangeability of form and space greatly interested me, even though it was limited to rectilinear shapes. In the early "40"s I set out for Mondrian to find a way of freeing this concept of space so that it could be expressed with the use of curved line as well as straight. I soon found that this way was not an easy thing to do. After more than a decade of intense search and painting (in 1954) somewhat by accident, while drawing with free line on a spherical surface, I observed a concomitant situation wherein the idea of space and form were complimentary to each other as well as interchangeable After many of these drawings I was able to carry this situation over into paintings on a circular format. And not until I had done more than a dozen of the circular paintings could I achieve this interchangeable use of space and form on a rectangular canvas. Then, more than ever, there was the curved space which moves in every direction and when at a particular point a line changes its course you can not tell whether it turns right or left, up and down, in or out. A curved space all across the canvas, with only two colors to go by. The extending points where these two colors meet seem only to indicate a means by which to manoeuver through this evolved space which has absorbed the form, releasing it of its every need to behave any longer as form. (1961)

I am interested in the way space becomes distorted and multidimensional between, around and amongst the collage forms, which I place on the given or selected surface, without using any traditional means of accomplishing this, such as perspective, shading, etc. The fine line acts as a pleasingly disturbing element in aesthetic contrasts. Then by simplest of means this is to create the greatest amount of space, moving in all directions. Space being activated and disturbed in this manner becomes multidimensional.
The drawings are not "drawings for paintings" but they are in the above manner closely related to the "Form Space Series" of my paintings begun in 1979 and "Form Space Series" is a further development of the "Constellation Series" begun in 1967. And these, of course, are rooted in all of my panel and folding paintings started in 1957.
Indeed, the space of which I have been speaking is an externalized evolution of the space in all of my paintings from the 1950's and the "Correspondence Series" of the 1960's.
The content of all of my works for over forty years has been mainly concerned with space and color. And my driving interest in the study of the history of art and its evolvements has been with artists concepts of space and their use of color... (1982)

As to color. - The traditional use of somber color was never a part of my environment. I grew up in the Southwest where the colors in nature were pure and rampant and where my Indian neighbors and relatives used color to vibrate and shock in all its intensity with equal rampacy.
I have always felt that I was born for my time, the Twentieth Century, and never resisting it I have moved along with it as easily and as naturally as air and the breeze move together or even at times on the spire of a tornado. (1961)

Arithmeum, Bonn

Arithmeum, Bonn

montag, den 3. september, eröffnet das ARITHMEUM in bonn, lennéstrasse 2 eine große retrospektive des amerikanischen malers LEON POLK SMITH.
... bilder der 40er jahre, seine antwort auf piet mondrians "victory boogie-woogie", ... sehr bald seine loslösung vom inneren kleinteiligen bild-rhythmus, ... die befreiung der farbformen aus dem bildgeviert,
... zunächst als "correspondences", dem kräftespiel zweier farbflächen, ... später zum hard-edge, zur einheit von farbformen als bildformen. als große kreise, als ovale, auch als montagen mehrerer dieser formen, als "constellations", entfalten diese auf der wand ihre bewegung, überlagert von einer zweiten gemalten farbfläche, die drängend als anschnitt einer viel größeren form im bild beginnt und sich in der imagination des betrachters auf der wand nach außen, nach oben fortsetzt, immer spielerisch gegen die schwerkraft ...

prof. hans-heinz holz, philosoph, universität groningen, eröffnet die ausstellung um 20 uhr.
seine beobachtungen, seine schlüsse werden wir aufzeichnen, sodaß sie später veröffentlicht werden können.

es spielen unsichtbare pianisten, präsentiert von dr. jürgen hocker.

geöffnet ist die ausstellung jeweils di - so 11 - 18 uhr und nach vereinbarung mit frau ina prinz, der leiterin des museums., unter +49-(0)228-738790.

Artwork Offer on Artist Page offers / Requests  About this service
Exhibition Announcement on Artist Page Exhibition Announcements  About this service


Learn more about this service
Artist Visualization Example

Interested in discovering more of this artist's networks?

3 easy steps: Register, buy a package for a visualization, select the artist.

Find out more

See examples how visualization looks like for an artist, a curator, or an exhibition place: Gallery, museum, non-profit place, or collector.

Artist Curator Exhibition Place

Exhibition History 

Exhibition History

SUMMARY based on artist-info records. More details and Visualizing Art Networks on demand.
Venue types: Gallery / Museum / Non-Profit / Collector
Exhibitions in artist-info 85 (S 21/ G 64) Did show together with - Top 5 of 1261 artists
(no. of shows) - all shows - Top 100
Josef Albers [Joseph Albers] (26)- 402
Ellsworth Kelly (24)- 349
Frank Stella (22)- 440
Victor Vasarely [Győző Vásárhelyi] (20)- 339
Fritz Glarner (16)- 81
Exhibitions by type
85:   36 / 34 / 15 / 0
Venues by type
52:   16 / 22 / 14 / 0
Curators 28
artist-info records Feb 1946 - Jul 2023
Countries - Top 5 of 6
United States (50)
Germany (14)
France (4)
Switzerland (2)
Netherlands (2)
Cities - Top 5 of 33
New York (34)
Friedberg (8)
Berlin (5)
Paris (3)
San Francisco (3)
Venues (no. of shows ) Top 5 of 52
edition & galerie hoffmann (8)
Galerie Chalette (6)
Denise René - New York (6)
Museum of Modern Art - MoMA (1/7) (5)
Neue Nationalgalerie (3)
Curators (no. of shows) Top 5 of 28
Brooke Kamin Rapaport(2), Lucius Grisebach(2), William C. Agee(1), Max Bill(1), Michael Auping(1)
Offers/Requests Exhibition Announcement S / G Solo/Group Exhibitions   (..) Exhibitions + Favorites
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title

ZERO, Pop und Minimal

 - Die 1960er und 1970er Jahre
Von der Heydt-Museum G Apr 2022 - Jul 2023 Wuppertal (131) +0
Bruns, Anika (Curator)       +0
Eickhoff, Beate (Curator)       +0
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title


Sheldon Museum of Art G May 2017 - Jul 2017 Lincoln (2) +0
PermalinkExhibition TitleExhibition Title


 - Aspekte einer Farbe in Moderne und Gegenwart
Museum im Kulturspeicher G Nov 2014 - Feb 2015 Würzburg (55) +0
Louis Stern Fine Arts S Jan 2014 - Feb 2014 Hollywood (43) +0
Valerie Carberry Gallery S Nov 2013 - Jan 2014 Chicago (51) +0
James Graham & Sons G Sep 2013 - Oct 2013 New York (83) +0
Keep reading