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.
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)
Dick S. Ramsay Fund
This item is not on view
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)
detail, 57.185_detail4_slide_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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