Lot 3418 - A197 PostWar & Contemporary - Thursday, 01. July 2021, 05.00 PM


(Boston 1922–1981 East Hampton)
Joes world. 1979.
Acrylic on canvas.
Monogrammed lower centre: KS, as well as monogrammed, dated and titled on the overlap: KS 1979 JOE'S WORLD.
163 × 51 cm.

- Galerie Turske & Turske, Zurich (verso with the label).
- Galerie M. Knoedler, Zurich (verso with the label).
- Purchased from the above by the present owner, since then private collection Switzerland.

With his playfully light, fresh and colourful paintings, Kimber Smith is one of the great American exponents of abstraction, especially of the ‘New York School’. Like many American artists, Smith moved to Paris with his wife in 1954, where he lived and worked for over a decade. For him, Paris meant distancing himself from the autochthonous Abstract Expressionism prevalent in New York and having access to European painting traditions with ample scope for his personal development. Exposed to the work of Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard and others, Smith developed a distinctly lyrical and expressive style of painting.

While his first paintings with their eruptive expressiveness were still in the shadow of Abstract Expressionism, Smith found his personal geometric system of signs at the beginning of the 1960s with simple symbolic forms such as circles, lozenges, bars, triangles, etc., the iconography of which he derived from the details of everyday experiences. Ever-present in his paintings are the triangles that represent the ears of his cat. His compositions always retain an element of spontaneity and remain recognisable as an expression of the concrete, painterly process. His large paintings from the late seventies with their individual linear forms, pyramids, diamonds and flower-like spots have an almost Fauvist airiness. The generous brushstrokes enable the expression of freedom and light-heartedness as well as the pain and sadness of his cancer diagnosis. Throughout his life, Kimber Smith was denied recognition by the American art world. His works are to be found primarily in museums and private collections in Europe, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

"Structure interests me. . . it holds things together. I am often called a colorist, which is maybe true, but I couldn’t care less about color: I take two or three tubes, sometimes the fullest ones. . . there it’s green, but it could have been black. . . that red could equally have been black. Color really isn’t important for me." Kimber Smith

CHF 4 000 / 6 000

€ 3 740 / 5 610