Hassel Smith: Paintings 1937-1997
Considered by critics as a "West Coast underground legend," Hassel Smith was an influential member of the experimental school of artists that emerged from post-World War II California. Together with Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, and Richard Diebenkorn, Smith made his name at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) and from 1950 until the mid-1960s with successful exhibitions in Europe and on both coasts of the US. While his breakthrough paintings are characterized by their wildly vibrant brushstrokes and explosions of color, Smith was equally adept in a more restrained style, producing in later years the magisterial sequence of "measured" abstractions. As an initial burst of fame subsided, Smith continued to paint with unwavering energy. The result is a robust and dynamic body of work that reflects Smith's persistent curiosity and the breadth of his inquiry into the possibilities of painting. Long awaited by followers of the innovative art of the American Far West, this volume presents a full appreciation of Smith's achievement.