Louise Nevelson

American | Sculpture

b. 1899

Louise Nevelson (born Louise Berliawsky) was the Russian-born American abstract sculptor, who moved to the USA in 1905. Influenced by Cubism and African art, she first explored painting and murals, before settling on sculpture. Her monumental sculptures paved the way for the Feminist art movement of the 1970s by disputing that only men's artwork could be large-scale.

Nevelson took classes at the Art Students League in New York and with Hans Hoffman in Munich. As his student she was taught to practice art with a limited palette, using monochrome colors such as black and white, to emphasize the effects of light and shadow. These colors would become part of Nevelson's signature.

Nevelson’s sculptures are about myth and mystery, and according to her words, she identified with ideas “more than with nature.” She mainly used wood, plastics and formica as her media and in the 1970s began to create monumentally scaled pieces in aluminum and steel.

Nevelson died in 1988 in New York.

A collection of works by Nevelson can be found in a sculpture garden in Manhattan. The Farnsworth Art Museum, in Nevelson's childhood home in Maine houses the second largest collection of her works, including jewelry she designed.