Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson

Original Name Leah Berliawsky
Birth
Russia
Death 17 Apr 1988 (aged 88)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Acworth, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, USA
Plot New Cemetery Section - Up On The Knoll
Memorial ID 6337278 · View Source
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Sculptor. She immigrated with her family to Rockland, Maine in 1905 due to the conditions in the Jewish community where they lived. She recalled knowing that she would be an artist from the age of nine after observing a plaster cast of a statue of Joan of Arc at the Rockland Public Library. In 1920, she married and moved to New York City and from 1928 to 1930, she studied at the Art Students League in New York. In 1931, she separated from her husband and left her son with his father so that she could travel to Munich to study under Hans Hofmann at his School for Modern Art. Her decision to focus on her career instead of motherhood was a crucial one. In 1931, she worked as a film extra in Vienna and Berlin. In 1932, she returned to New York and re-enrolled at the Art Students League. While at the League, she studied painting, modern dance, and sculpture. She also studied again with Hans Hofmann as well as the sculptor Chaim Gross. During this time, she met Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and assisted the muralist with his paintings for the New Workers' School. She also worked with the Works Progress Administration through the Federal Art Project that also employed many other artists. She first gained attention for her sculpture in the early 1940s, and her works were all found object pieces of varying materials. Despite her lack of initial critical success, she remained committed to her art and her sculptures grew in size finally evolving into the large-scale walls in the 1950s. Her favored material of cast-off scrap wood was a radical departure from the endeavors of her male counterparts who worked in traditional materials like metal and marble. In 1959, her installation work, Dawn's Wedding Feast, was exhibited in the group show 16 Americans at the MoMA, alongside Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Through exhibitions at the Martha Jackson Gallery, Nevelson met her future dealer, Arnold Glimcher of Pace Gallery, which still represents her work. From the reputation she gained during the 1950s, she was invited to represent America in the 1962 Venice Biennale. Outside of her three-dimensional artwork, she actively sought out artistic enrichment in her daily life, studying modern dance with Ellen Kearns from the 1930s through the 1950s. She also took voice lessons, studied acting, and was active in many artists' organizations like Artists Equity, the National Association of Women Artists, the Sculptors Guild, and the American Abstract Artists. Just as she carefully constructed her sculptures, she also promoted her extravagant personal style. In the late 1960s, she met fashion designer Arnold Scaasi, who dressed her from then on. Although Scaasi designed her clothes, she did not let him decide her appearance. She would add lush scarves, large pieces of eccentric jewelry, elaborate headdresses, and mink eyelashes on a daily basis. She carefully chose her personal appearance and saw it as further extension of her intricate artwork. In 1967, the Whitney Museum of American Art hosted her first museum retrospective and exhibited over 100 of her works. In her 70s, she received her first commission for a monumental outdoor sculpture from Princeton University, which she fulfilled in 1971 when the Cor-Ten steel monumental screen, Atmosphere and Environment X was installed on the university's campus. She continued to create public art throughout the 1970s, and she even translated her work into a 1975 design for St. Peter's Lutheran Church in midtown Manhattan. Tied to her growing interest in the public realm, she donated her papers and documents to the Archives of American Art throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, providing a record of her life to the public in perpetuity. She also donated her extensive art collections and ornate furniture to friends and museums. She continued to create sculptures during the 1980s. She was also photographed by the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe, who documented her eccentric image.

Bio by: Glendora


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: terry ward
  • Added: 11 Apr 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6337278
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Louise Nevelson (23 Sep 1899–17 Apr 1988), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6337278, citing Acworth Cemetery, Acworth, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .