Pepper, Beverly

Pepper, Beverly

Pepper, Beverly, American sculptor, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. She lived in Italy from the 1950s. Pepper began as a social realist painter but soon turned to sculpture, inspired by the carvings at Angkor Wat (see Angkor). Her sculptures, usually intended for installation outdoors, are most often monumental abstract shapes in industrial media–iron, steel, bronze, and stone—that nonetheless project a feeling of buoyancy, grace, and lightness. She was one of the first artists to use (1964) Cor-Ten steel, which forms a rust-like sepia patina. Pepper also made small tabletop pieces. Among her early signature pieces were huge, curving abstract forms made of polished steel with enameled interiors, e.g., Zig-Zag (1967, Albright-Knox Art Gallery). Many of her architectural works, which seem to rise out of the ground, are constructed of earth or stone combined with metallic industrial forms, e.g., the Long Canal—Hillside, Dallas (1970s). Manhattan Sentinels (1993), cast-iron columns at Federal Plaza in Manhattan, is another well-known work. Pepper was the mother of the poet Jorie Graham.


See C. Kron, Beverly Pepper: Selected Works 1968–2015 (2017); studies by R. E. Krauss (1986) and R. Hobbs (2012).

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Pepper, Beverly (b. Stoll)

(1924–  ) sculptor, environmental artist; born in New York City. She studied at the Pratt Institute (1940) and in Paris (1949), painted and traveled extensively, and settled in Italy (c. 1952). She is known for totem figures, steel sculptures, mirrored works, and environmental earth constructions, as in Amphisculpture (1947–76).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.