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Kimber Smith, Egyptian Rose Garden, 1976, acrylic on canvas, 68 x 65".

Kimber Smith

James Graham & Sons

Kimber Smith, Egyptian Rose Garden, 1976, acrylic on canvas, 68 x 65".

Kimber Smith might not be a household name, but his paintings from the 1960s and ’70s are knockouts, some of the most formidable to be on view in our moment of near-ubiquitous abstraction. A second-generation Abstract Expressionist better known for his friendships with Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell than for his own work, Smith spent more than a decade in Paris, where he encountered Annette Michelson in 1964, who called him the “most serious and consequential” of his community of expats. Smith returned to the United States the following year. A few years earlier he had switched from oil to acrylic, and in the late ’60s he would embark on a three-year affair with spray paint. But it is his works from the ’70s (which comprise the bulk of this show) that best demonstrate Smith’s capacity for working his medium—precisely by underscoring his refusal to do so, his willingness

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