Louise Nevelson

1899-1988

Louise Nevelson was one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. She was one of the only female sculptors of her generation to receive widespread recognition, and yet she was nearly 50 years old when the art world finally noticed her. She is best known for her massive monochromatic wooden wall pieces, made from found objects picked up from the streets of New York City. These monumental constructions were usually painted in black although sometimes white was used.

Nevelson was born in Kiev but grew up in Maine where her father owned a lumberyard. In 1920, she married and moved to New York and in 1929 studied at the New York Arts Students League. In 1931, she visited Munich and studied under Hans Hofmann.     Returning to New York, she again studied under Hans Hofmann at the Art Students League.

In the 1930s, Nevelson focused on sculpture, painting, and drawing. In 1941, she had her first solo exhibition. In the 1950s, she shifted from sculpture’s traditional materials to black painted wood, unveiling the various colors inherent in black – purple, indigo, and iridescent blue. Painting in three dimensions, she allowed the hues to emerge from the curves and angles of her sculptures.

In 1962, Nevelson had financial difficulties and was practically broke. Fortunately she won a six week paid fellowship at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles and was able to escape the problems she had in New York. She was the most productive of all the interns and made 26 lithographs the most creative of all her graphic works.

Returning to New York refreshed and revitalized, she continued to work productively and successively for the rest of her life. In 1962, her work was selected for the 31st Venice Biennale, and she had a retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1967. She has had another retrospective at the Whitney Museum as well as one at the Jewish Museum

Her works are part of the permanent collections of the world’s major museums. She has emboldened generations of artists that have followed her from Louise Bourgeois and Lee Bontecoui to Chakaia Booker and Henry Taylor.

More here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s