Father’s Day Focus: Sculptor Tony Smith

TOny SMith

Die Sculpture, by Tony Smith

Did you know that American Sculptor, Tony Smith, was not only pioneer in the development of Minimalistic Sculpture in the modern art world, but he helped shaped the artistic careers of his daughters, Kiki Smith (sculptor, printmaker) and Seton Smith (photography)?  

Starting in his 50s, Tony Smith began to create minimalistic pieces inspired by the abstract artwork of his friends: Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Clifford Still. Living most of his life in New Jersey, his home was his studio. It was here, Tony’s children were encouraged to actively participate in his creative process as he allowed both girls to help him create cardboard/toothpick models for his geometric sculptures.  

 “My father just raised us to be his assistants,” jokes Kiki. “We were like educational experiments.” -excerpt from Artnet

This formalist study laid the foundation for both girls to assert their own ideas in the visual arts. Kiki Smith (b. 1954) is known for her provocative work, a combination of body/spiritual explorations and story-telling through sculptures, printmaking, drawing. Seton Smith (b.1955) found her way through photography, exploring themes of memory and desire.

Blue Girl, 1998 by Kiki Smith

Blue Girl, 1998 by Kiki Smith

Seton Smith, 1991

Seton Smith, 1991

So, perhaps there is truth in the old saying, the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. For Kiki Smith and Seton Smith continue to impact the contemporary art world with their own artistic visions, initiated and nurtured by their father, Tony Smith.  

Cheers to all the great dads out there sharing their passions for life with their children. Happy Father’s Day!


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