Throwback (3/3)

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Throwback (3/3)
Throwback (3-3), Smith.JPG
Artist Tony Smith
Year 1976 (1976)–1979 (1979)
Type Aluminum, painted black
Dimensions 206.4 cm × 395.9 cm × 242.9 cm (81 14 in × 155 78 in × 95 58 in)
Location Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., United States
Coordinates 38°53′17.34″N 77°1′20.48″W / 38.8881500°N 77.0223556°W / 38.8881500; -77.0223556
Owner Smithsonian Institution

Throwback is a public artwork by American artist Tony Smith, located at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., United States.[1] This version is the third of an edition of three in the series with one artist's proof.


The artwork is constructed sheets of aluminum that have been welded together at precise angles to form a geometric, four-sided, hollow, elongated ring.[2] The sculpture is coated with a flat-black industrial fluoropolymer exterior paint applied to achieve a matte finish. Currently sited on a patch of turf in the Sculpture Garden of the Hirshhorn, the sculpture is supported by three subterranean plates with brackets at three points.[3]

Historical information[edit]

In the early to mid-sixties, Smith experimented with tetrahedral and octahedral forms in sculptures such as Willy and Amaryllis. Over a decade later, Smith returned to these earlier geometries with Throwback. Thus the title of the work alludes to this act of looking back. Smith elaborated on this point, “In a certain sense the piece is unique. I did not have the prospect or opportunity of making a large architectural sculpture so I decided to do something more conventional. I made an object that recalls an earlier period.”[4]

The International Paper Company was the first to purchase the first sculpture of the edition and originally displayed it at the company’s New York headquarters.[5] It is now owned by the City of New York and on display at 1166 Avenue of the Americas.

The second version was purchased by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is currently on display.[6] The artists proof has not been fabricated.

Several other versions of the work exist. In 1976, a smaller (62 × 150 inches), unique version of the work was installed at Grove Isle, Coconut Grove, Florida. A full-scale plywood model, painted black, was created for exhibition at the Pace Gallery in 1979. A cardboard maquette (measuring 13 1/2 × 32 1/2 × 16 inches) was intended to serve as the model of an edition of 9 bronzes.[7] However, the maquette was ultimately produced in a numbered edition of 6.


While the work is dated from 1976–1977, the Hirshhorn’s edition of the work was acquired from the Pace Gallery in 1980. Lippincott, Inc fabricated the sculpture in North Haven, Connecticut, in the same year.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smithsonian (1996). "Throwback, (sculpture).". Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture. Smithsonian. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "Throwback Save Outdoor Sculpture! entry". Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture, Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Conservation file. 2010. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
  4. ^ Hunter, S. 1979. The sculpture of Tony Smith. In Tony Smith: Ten Elements and Throwback, ed. Pace Gallery. New York: Pace Gallery. 1-9.
  5. ^ Glueck, G. 1980. Tony Smith, 68, sculptor of minimalist structures. New York Times, December 27.
  6. ^ San Francisco Museum of Art (2010). "Tony Smith". Our Collection. SFMOMA. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  7. ^ McClintic, M. 1979. Memorandum: propose acquisition of Throwback, 28 September 1979. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Archives, Washington, D.C.
  8. ^ Glimcher, A.B. 1979. Letter from Arnold B. Glimcher to Abram Lerner, 12 December 1979. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Archives, Washington, D.C.

External links[edit]