Nevelson, Louise Berliawsky – American Sculptor

Louise Berliawsky Nevelson mixed media work, "Untitled IV", aquatint, etching and collage on C. M. Fabriano paper, 1973

p4A ItemID E8926215
Mixed media work by Louise Berliawsky Nevelson, "Untitled V", aquatint, etching and collage on C. M. Fabriano paper, 1973, signed & numbered

p4A ItemID E8919617
Louise Berliawsky Nevelson etching titled "Mirrored Figure", signed "Louise Nevelson", also in pencil "Artist proof"

p4A ItemID E8909060
Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988) portfolio, Facade, 1966. Twelve screenprints (some with collage) with poetry by Edith Sitwell, signed

p4A ItemID E8879634

Louise Berliawsky Nevelson (American, 1899 to 1988)

Louise Nevelson’s interest in working with wood scraps began at the age of nine while visiting her father’s lumberyard in Rockland, Maine. She started her career as an artist at the Art Students League in New York, where she was exposed to important works by artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso. She later went on to assist Mexican artist Diego Rivera. Nevelson is best known for her wood assemblages, structures or boxes created with wood scraps painted black. The assemblages were created to focus on shadows and space. She represented the United States in 1962 at the Venice Biennale and her work is included in major public and private collections worldwide.

Nevelson created many of these boxes in the 1970s. She started with boxes acquired from antique shops or made for her by her son. She most often assembled the works with Elmer’s glue and used a spray paint to create the matte black. Nevelson termed the works “Dark Cryptic” and often differentiated them with roman numerals.

-Information courtesy of Skinner Inc., September, 2007.

Born in 1899 in Kiev, Russia, Louise moved with her family to Rockland, Maine at age 5. Louise being a Jew and an immigrant felt out of place in mostly Protestant Rockland. In 1920 she moved to New York where she met and married Charles Nevelson and they had a son. In 1929 Louise moved to Munich, separating from Charles and leaving her young son in Maine with her parents. In Germany she studied with Hans Hoffman until the Nazi’s drove him away. She also studied briefly in Paris before returning to the United States to raise her son and pursue her art career. She had her first show in New York in 1941 but did not have a break-through until 1957 when she began the box-like assemblages that brought her acclaim. In 1959 she was one of sixteen Americans to have an important exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. In the 1960′s she began welding found objects in rhythmic abstract shapes and then covered them entirely with black, white or gold paint, colors for her that symbolized continuity. Nevelson’s son, Mike followed in her footsteps and became a sculptor. She died in 1988 and in 2000 the United States government issued Louise Nevelson commemorative stamps. Examples of Nevelson’s work are in the Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

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