6. Yehiel Shemi

Yehiel Shemi, Morning, 1975-76

Enamel on steel, museum purchase with funds provided by Lionel R. Bauman in memory of Sylvia D. Bauman.


Audio Transcript

Shemi was known for his abstract metal sculptures and was the first Israeli artist to have his work purchased by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Having worked in construction, the artist’s early sculptures were made from the steel found in sunken ships in Haifa’s harbors.

He was interested in using modern technology in the creation of his works and often used industrial mass-produced materials. He viewed his work as environmental, and this sculpture can be seen as a three-dimensional drawing in a wide-open space.

He continued to weld mass-produced iron and scrap metal to create forms of irregular geometry, bold lines, and colorful gestures that confidently extend into space.

A contemporary of David Smith, Shemi’s monumental work has been described as three-dimensional Constructivist calligraphy. Morning is a second version of the original sculpture dated 1972. The artist made this version specifically for the Palm Springs Art Museum.