b. Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine, 23 September 1899 – d. New York, NY, USA, 17 April 1988
Ukrainian by birth, Louise Nevelson moved to the United States with her family in 1905. Influenced by Cubism and primitive art, she moved away from traditional sculpture, and created assemblages of pieces of salvaged wood. In doing so, she laid the foundations for a unique style of art; her towering walls made of boxes stacked one on top of another fused a rigorous austerity with an almost baroque hodgepodge of items, inviting the viewer to approach the sculpted object like a single component in a wider system dominated by light and shadow. Nevelson integrated all sorts of wooden odds and ends into her work, so creating abstract, monumental structures. These creations, like their titles, suggest an imaginary world full of fantasy and poetry. Whereas Nevelson’s early sculptures are entirely covered in matte black paint, her later works become more luminous and lyrical, painted in white or gold.
Nevelson represented the United States during the 1962 Venice Biennale. A few years later, in 1967, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York hosted the first retrospective on her work. Her creations have been preserved in a number of prestigious international institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Tate in London, to name but a few.