This exhibition, curated by Dr. Jennifer Field, Executive Director of The Estate of David Smith, is organized in commemoration of The Hyde Collection’s sixtieth anniversary as a public museum. It features approximately twenty-five loans from important private and public collections, and The Estate of David Smith, in addition to a selection of rare archival materials. David Smith (1906-1965) settled permanently in Bolton Landing, NY, in 1940. There, inspired by a local dance school and concerts held both locally and in New York City, he made inventive works of art that depict dancing figures and musicians playing instruments. This project is the first museum exhibition to focus exclusively on the indelible influence of music and dance on Smith’s work in painting, drawing, and sculpture.
The Adirondack region that encompasses Bolton Landing and Glens Falls was inseparable from Smith’s artistic practice. A dialogue with nature—the mountain landscape, the change of seasons, the flight of birds—is reflected in his artwork in every medium. As part of his commitment to the area, he became deeply involved with the foundation of The Hyde Collection prior to his death in 1965. Mrs. Charlotte Hyde, founder of the Museum, was a friend of David Smith. There were very close bonds between the sculptor and Mrs. Hyde’s curators, Otto Wittman and Jerry Dodge, and also her long-time friend and Chair of her trustees, the artist and experimental filmmaker Douglass Crockwell. Smith was one of the Collection’s earliest trustees. He curated The Hyde’s very first summer exhibition, installing his own sculptures on the lawn. In the spirit of that inaugural event, Songs of the Horizon: David Smith, Music, and Dance will feature two graceful, vertical sculptures from later in Smith’s career measuring up to twelve feet tall, that poetically evoke the essence of music, dance, and nature. It is this intimate association with David Smith that the Museum seeks to highlight with its anniversary exhibition.