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Louise Nevelson

American, 1899-1988


Louise Nevelson

Night Rhythm III, 1968

Wood construction, painted black
31 1/2 x 21 3/4 x 6 in
80 x 55.2 x 15.2 cm


Louise Nevelson was born in Kyiv which was part of the Russian Empire in 1899. Her family  settled in Rockland, Maine in 1905; her father operated a lumberyard. Nevelson grew up playing with scraps from the lumberyard. Nevelson knew by the early age of ten that she had desired to  be a professional sculptor. In 1920, she married wealthy ship owner Charles Nevelson and moved  to New York. The marriage did not last, and they separated in the early 1930s. She studied at the  Art Students League. In 1931–32, Nevelson studied with abstract painter Hans Hofmann in  Munich and later New York. Through Hofmann, she discovered Cubism and collage, which greatly  influenced her artistic style. Nevelson also worked as an assistant to Diego Rivera on a mural  project. Nevelson had her first solo exhibition at the Nierendorf Gallery in New York in 1941.  Nevelson developed her signature monochromatic, spray-painted wooden assemblages in the  late 1950s. A 1958 exhibition of Nevelson’s all-black environments caused a sensation in New  York. She showed at MoMA in 1959–60. Nevelson was a later bloomer as she had been working  actively as an artist for decades, but it was not into her sixties until her reputation really began  to soar. Nevelson had a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum in the 1960s. In  subsequent years, Nevelson received six honorary doctorates and continued to exhibit her work  regularly in Europe and the United States. Her work is in the collections of MoMA, Whitney,  Metropolitan, Smithsonian, Tate Modern, and Walker Art Center.