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Hudson River Landscape

1951

David Smith, Hudson River Landscape, 1951. Welded painted steel and stainless steel, 49 15/16 × 73 3/4 × 16 9/16 in. (126.8 × 187.3 × 42.1 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase  54.14
Art © Estate of David Smith / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Hudson River Landscape was inspired by the journeys that David Smith made between New York City and his home in Bolton Landing, New York, a small town in the Adirondack Mountains. Over the course of ten train rides, Smith drew dozens of images of the passing landscape. To create this large-scale sculpture, Smith welded together pieces of old steel objects—such as agricultural tools and scraps found in his studio—often preserving their original shape. The objects are transformed into an abstracted landscape: round clouds, railroad tracks, and a stepped, rocky terrain.
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HOW DAVID SMITH CAME UP WITH HUDSON RIVER LANDSCAPE

“The sculpture started from drawings made on a train between Albany and Poughkeepsie, a synthesis of drawings from ten trips, going and coming over a seventy-mile stretch. Later, while drawing, I shook a quart bottle of India ink and it flew over my hand. It looked like my river landscape.”