Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Louise Nevelson: The Other Louise

It seems that the 20th Century provided us with two outstanding sculptors named "Louise." Both were born in Europe and immigrated to the U.S., both made monumentally-sized sculptures and both had long lives devoted to art. One of the two, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), was the subject of this blog in August, 2009.

The other, Louise - that is Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) - was not only an outstanding 20th century sculptor, but was considered a pioneer in the use of found objects as part of her sculptures.

The daughter of a family in the timber business, it seems that Nevelson could not resist scavenging objects, especially woods ones, to create her art. She was known for her creations of sculptures of geometric shapes based on the assemblage of reused items. A lintel, a door frame, an old chair or a crate all held design possibilities for Nevelson.

Out of found materials came her signature sculptures which were often large and always painted black, white or gold. (One of her sculptures measured about 55 feet!) Below are images of some of Nevelson's sculptures which you can click to enlarge.

There is just one last thing: both Louises continued to work on commission until shortly before they died. They were two women of immense vigor and passion for art. As Nevelson stated, "It isn't how you live, but how you finish."


  1. I'm familiar with Louise Nevelson's work. I understand that her major influences were the Cubists. Her work certainly reflects that style. Nancy.

  2. I have always admired Nevelson. I have a book of her life and work. She led a very hard, and strange life. I love the quote--It's how you finish that counts! Also, since she often had no money--found objects seemed to be the only materials available. Love you, Justine

  3. LOVE Louise Nevelson! PH