Artist Spotlight: Louise Nevelson

05/25/2018     News and Film

Louise Nevelson was a pioneer in installation art of the 20th century. She is well known for her monumental abstract sculptures which were often comprised of found wooden objects, painted in monochromatic black, white or gold. Her work follows in the tradition of assemblage art and shows a correlation with Marcel Duchamp 's readymade sculptures. In the artist 's own words, “My theory is that when we come on this earth, many of us are ready-made. Some of us—most of us—have genes that are ready for certain performances. Nature gives you these gifts.”Born in present-day Ukraine in 1899, Nevelson moved with her family to Rockland, Maine in 1905, as a result of the violent Jewish persecutions occurring in Ukraine at the time. She decided to become a sculptor at an early age, influenced by remnants of wood found in her father 's junkyard. Growing up, Nevelson 's family always supported and encouraged her love of art. Yet this passion was inhibited when she married her husband Charles, who forbade her from further pursuing her artistic talents. In 1931, Nevelson left her son with her mother and moved to Munich in order to take classes under renowned teacher Hans Hofmann. She continued to study with him at the Arts Student League in New York after he immigrated to the United States. As a result of Hofmann 's influence, Nevelson discovered a love of Cubism and collage, which greatly encouraged her artistic development. The next few years in New York afforded her the opportunity immerse herself in the city 's art scene, working in the workshop of famed muralist Diego Rivera, studying sculpture with Chaim Gross and drawing and painting with George Grosz. She first began exhibiting her work in group shows during the 1930s and held her first solo exhibition at the Nierendorf Gallery in 1941, where she was represented until 1947. In 1959, her work was included in the important ‘Sixteen Americans ' show at the Museum of Modern Art and was the subject of two retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1967 and 1998. She also represented the United States twice at the Venice Biennale; first in 1962 and again in 1976. Of the physicality and dimensionality she created, the self-described “architect of shadow” said, “well, I think that the shadow, let 's say, for a better word, is the fourth dimension. That shadow I make forms out of is just not a fleeting shadow but it has as much form as a Cubistic form would have. It has forms and I give them forms and to me they 're much more exciting than anything that I see on earth.”In the June 4 sale of 18 Works from the Bachman Collection are two large black painted wood sculptures by Nevelson, including “Cascades - Perpendiculars XII” (Lot 17, estimate $50,000-80,000), and “Dream House Wall II,” (Lot 18, $250,000-400,000), comprised of eight separate painted wood components. Both lots, along with 16 others, will be on view to the public beginning May 30.View more from 18 Works from the Bachman Collection.