HASSEL SMITH (1915 - 2007) Upending Orthodoxy

  • SANTA BARBARA, California
  • /
  • January 14, 2011

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About 9, 1976. Acrylic on canvas.


Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery presents Hassel Smith: UPENDING ORTHODOXY (1915 - 2007) on view through April 3, 2011. For the Gallery's second exhibition from the Estate of Bay Area Abstract Expressionist, Hassel Smith, Upending Orthodoxy features a small suite of drawings, a large construction, and two of the artist's late assimilative paintings. His intuitive brush of hand created works in brilliant colors. His work doesn't possess any angst or darkness assocciated with other artists of the movement. Instead an impish amusement emanates from these works by a man who loved art in all of its' forms.

Born in 1915, Smith received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in art history and English literature. He moved to San Francisco where he first studied at the California School of Fine Arts. Smith spent the war years working for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in Arvin, CA. Smith later returned to teach at the California School of Fine Arts, where he would become one of the first-generation Abstract Expressionists. Smith would go onto have international solo exhibitions in the leading galleries and Museums, as well as teaching stints at UC Berkley, Davies, and Los Angeles. 

He moved to England in his later years, and taught at the Bristol Polytechnic until 1978, while still traveling and having a full exhibition schedule. He received the Cunniham Endowed Chair in 1988, and in 1991, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1997, failing health forced him to stop painting. Smith passed away in England, in early 2007.

His contribution to American Art remains significant. In 2008, the San Francisco Art Institute held a Celebration of his life and work.

Also on exhibition: 40 Days and 40 Nights: The Night Paintings of Lockwood de Forest through April 11, 100 Grand through February 11, and the gallery’s Winter Salon through February 31st.

Mary Elliott
Sullivan Goss - An AMERICAN Gallery

Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery
7 East Anapamu Street
Santa Barbara, California

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