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The Hero

David Smith

Contemporary Art

David Smith's The Hero conflates the abstract and the figurative, for discernible in this geometric steel sculpture is a life-size female. She is revealed frontally, balanced on a pedestal, with a rectangle for a torso, two triangular forms for breasts, and fragments of a tank top for a head. The Hero is a forerunner of more than ten sculptures produced between 1952 and 1960 that Smith titled his Tanktotem series. "Tank" refers to the industrial tank lids or boiler tops he used to construct his pieces, while "totem" may indicate the influence of Sigmund Freud's book Totem and Taboo.
MEDIUM Steel, paint
DATES 1952
DIMENSIONS overall: 75 × 25 1/2 × 11 3/4 in., 104 lb. (190.5 × 64.8 × 29.8 cm, 47.17kg) base (only): 11 3/4 × 11 3/4 in. (29.8 × 29.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION David Smith (American, 1906-1965). The Hero, 1952. Steel, paint, overall: 75 × 25 1/2 × 11 3/4 in., 104 lb. (190.5 × 64.8 × 29.8 cm, 47.17kg). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 57.185. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 57.185_detail4_slide_SL3.jpg)
IMAGE detail, 57.185_detail4_slide_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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