Louise Nevelson, a towering figure in 20th-century American art, was recognized during her lifetime as one of America’s most prominent and innovative sculptors. The sculpture for which she is best known was made of cast-off wood parts—actual street throwaways—transformed with monochromatic spray paint. Through her elegant room-size works, Nevelson regularly summoned themes linked to her complicated past, fractious present, and anticipated future. Whether expressed literally or metaphorically, in representational paintings or outsize abstract sculpture, in early self-portraits or edgy middle-year projects, Nevelson’s sense of selfhood was a force that propelled her work. The artist’s personal story—her migration to America, her initial struggle as a woman artist, and the march of modern art movements such as Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, feminism, and installation—form a rich platform from which to view Nevelson’s compelling sculpture. Louise Nevelson constructed her sculpture much as she constructed her past: shaping each with her legendary sense of self as she created an extraordinary iconography through abstract means.
Major retrospectives of Nevelson’s work have been presented in New York at the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Jewish Museum. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at institutions such as Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, and PACE in New York. She participated in Documenta III in Kassel and the 1962 Venice Biennale.
Courtesy of The Jewish Museum
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
Wells Fargo Center, Los Angeles, CA
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Pace Gallery, New York, NY
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ