"Spitball" is an abstract, black, geometric sculpture made of ebony granite

Tony Smith

American, 1912-1980

Spitball, 1970

Ebony granite

12 x 14 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches

Signed, dated and numbered 13/50 on the bottom

Tony Smith was a pioneering sculptor of the Minimalist movement, creating large-scale abstract constructions during the 1960s and 1970s. While he is best known for his sculptural work in the last two decades of his life, Smith started his career in painting and drawing at the Art Students League during the 1930s. In 1937, he enrolled at the New Bauhaus, where he studied metalwork. From 1938 to 1940, Smith worked at the studio of Frank Lloyd Wright, assisting with several Usonian houses. His early success encouraged him to work as an independent architectural designer from 1940 to the early 1960s, during which time he realized at least nineteen private homes. Combining his interest in volumetric architectural forms and metalwork, Smith began to construct large-scale, black sculptures by the early 1960s. Spitball was first conceived as a large-scale object in 1961, and is among the earliest of Smith’s modular tetrahedral sculptures.

"Spitball" is an abstract, black, geometric sculpture made of ebony granite