Sean Scully, 1988
With its horizontal base, Beach Scene resembles a piece of driftwood with sinuous sculptural silhouettes on top, and one that breaks away from the central column and teeters against the vertical. This work was created earlier in Smith’s career when his sculptures were more representational and constructed openly than his later more allusive and anthropomorphic works. David Smith was among the first American artists to master the use of steel and other industrial materials. As a welder at the Studebaker automobile plant, Smith had firsthand experience with metal. After learning of Julio González’s and Pablo Picasso’s iron constructions, he realized the potential for transforming his collaged paintings into highly abstract, freestanding sculptures.