Tony Smith was born in 1912 in South Orange, New Jersey. Although he studied architecture at the New Bauhaus in Chicago and apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, he was largely self-taught as an artist. In the mid-1950s, while still a practicing architect, Smith took various teaching positions in New York and began exploring sculpture with his students. His initial sculptural investigations (at first consisting of wooden and cardboard maquettes) were an extension of his architectural pursuits. In 1964, at the age of fifty-one, his work was included in an important museum exhibition, formally launching his career as a sculptor. Tony Smith subsequently received numerous awards and commissions from prestigious institutions and museums throughout Europe and the United States.