From November 2 through December 22, the Washburn Gallery will present an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Hassel Smith done between 1959 to 1962 when Hassel Smith exhibited at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. The only New York show of Smith's works was held in 1961 at the Andre Emmerich Gallery although he exhibited widely throughout his life in this country and Europe.
Hassel Smith is a San Francisco "Bay Area" artist whose work in the late 50s and early 60s was strongly influenced by Clifford Still who taught at the San Francisco Art Institute in the late 1940s. The Hassel Smith exhibition will include seven large works by the artist. A brochure will accompany the show with an introduction by Irving Blum. The following is an excerpt:
"During the run of the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles (1957-1968) we had three exhibitions of work by Hassel Smith…Although he began as a figurative artist he turned early to abstraction. I thought the work to be brilliant. Abstract, but often including a scent of the West, a part of the country that he loved. Hassel continues to be largely unknown due to his decision to live and work in Northern California. The seat of major radical art activity was, of course, New York. I am certain had he worked in New York then the work would be cherished and celebrated."
Hassel Smith was born in Sturgis, Michigan in 1915 and died in Somerset, England in 2007. A major book, Hassel Smith, Paintings from 1937 – 1987, was published by Prestel in 2012 with over 150 reproductions, essays and chronology.