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Cockfight

Artist
David Smith, American, 1906–1965
Date
1945
Material
Steel
Made in
Bolton Landing, New York, United States, North and Central America
Classification
Sculpture
Current Location
On View, Gallery 333
Dimensions
45 x 21 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (114.3 x 55.2 x 27.3 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Rights
© Estate of David Smith / Licensed by ARS, New York, NY
Object Number
188:1946
NOTES
The deadly combat that locks these two roosters together can be read as an allegory for the World War II (1939–1945) battles raging in Europe at the time this sculpture was made. The roosters are silhouetted in space, their forms created through outline rather than three dimensional volume. The hand wrought steel plates point in different directions and shift behind each other—creating an energetic, explosive sense of action. The arc welded steel of “Cockfight” is a hallmark of David Smith, who worked for many years as a factory welder.
1945 - 1946
Willard Gallery, New York, NY, USA [1]

1946 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Willard Gallery [2]


Notes:
[1] The Willard Gallery was David Smith's agent and dealer [Smith, David. "Design for Progress-Cockfight." In "David Smith," edited by Garnett McCoy. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1973, p. 61]. The Willard Gallery lent "Cockfight" to an exhibition in November 1945 ["Ten Masterpieces of Art." Glen Falls, NY: Crandall Public Library, November 3 - 19, 1945, cat. 10].

[2] Invoice from Willard Gallery, dated November 30, 1946 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum St. Louis, November 7, 1946.
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