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books

David Smith by David Smith

David Smith by David Smith, ed. Cleve Cray (Holt, Rinehart, N.Y., 1968), 176 pages, illustrated.

As a compilation of statements by the artist, accompanied by many color photographs of Smith and his work, David Smith by David Smith cannot easily be categorized. There is not enough information to consider the book either biography or documentary, nor is is sufficiently systematic to be considered scholarly. Another approach might have been philosophical—an attempt to establish the artists as a speculative or analytical thinker after the fashion of Kandinsky or Sir Joshua Reynolds—but here the book is troubled by the fact that Smith didn’t really break any new ground as a thinker, as well as by the fact that Smith’s longer, more thoroughgoing statements are inexplicably fragmented. Sometimes the reproductions appear to correspond to the texts—as in the section on color—but at other times there

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