Nevelson, Louise

Nevelson, Louise

Nevelson, Louise, 1900–1988, American sculptor, b. Kiev, Russia. Using odd pieces of wood, found objects, cast metal and other materials, Nevelson constructed huge walls or enclosed box arrangements of complex and rhythmic abstract shapes. These are covered entirely with black, white, or gold paint. The uniform tone gives her work a mysterious quality and emphasizes the structural importance of its shadows. Huge works such as World (1966; Detroit Inst. of Art) reflect a sense of total environment. Examples of Nevelson's work are in the Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


See study by J. Gordon (1967).

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Nevelson, Louise (b. Berliawsky)

(1900–88) sculptor; born in Kiev, Russia. She and her family emigrated to Maine (1905). She married (1920) and then settled in New York City where she studied at the Art Students League (1929–30). She then studied with Hans Hofmann in Munich (1931) and worked in New York City as an assistant to Diego Rivera (1932). Her first sculptures were figural and cubist in mixed media, and by 1950 she had focused on her famous boxed assemblages and constructions, as in Moon Garden + One (1957–60). Her architectural environments and fantasies were often of painted wood; later she utilized Plexiglas, aluminum, formica, and steel.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.