Espoo Museum of Modern Art

We are seeking works by artist and designer Howard Smith for an upcoming exhibition in the US. The show will also be presented at EMMA in the coming years

Howard Smith in Tervakoski
Howard Smith in Tervakoski

The first retrospective exhibition of American-born artist Howard Smith in the United States will open at the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2025. The exhibition will be produced in collaboration with EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art. We are currently looking for works by Smith in private collections to be loaned to the US. The exhibition will also be shown at EMMA in the next few years.

Howard Smith (1928, New Jersey – 2021, Fiskars, Finland) was an American-born artist and designer who spent most of his life in Finland. The exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum in California aims to raise Smith’s profile in the US, where his diverse body of work has received relatively little attention. We are seeking loans of Smith’s works from private collectors, especially collages, textiles, and pieces from the early 1960s, to be included in the exhibition. 

From the 1960s onwards, Smith lived almost exclusively in Finland and made significant contributions to the Finnish visual arts and design. He was known for his clear, graphic design language and bright colours. Smith moved fluidly across various disciplines and scales in both design and fine art. He applied his design skills when working with different techniques and materials in fine art, but also utilised the visual idiom of his paintings and graphic work in practical design tasks. As a designer, Smith is best known for his work for Vallila and Arabia. The patterns he designed for Vallila in the late 1960s and later quickly became among the most famous items of the company, and some of these printed fabrics are still in production. Among the work he did for Arabia, the most famous are his ceramic collections and figurines. 

The Palm Springs Art Museum exhibition will feature a wide selection of Howard Smith’s works, both in terms of time and technique. The time span will extend from the 1960s to the early 2000s. EMMA will collaborate by offering its expertise on Smith and his relationship to the Finnish art scene. EMMA’s collection includes serigraphs as well as large public artworks by Smith, and he will also be featured in a future solo exhibition at EMMA. 

If you own any collages, textiles, or early works by Howard Smith from the 1960s, please let us know. Contact Tuomas Laulainen, curator of collections at EMMA, at by 31 August 2024.

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