Louise Nevelson

LOUISE NEVELSON; “I think most artists create out of despair.”


“But when I fell in love with black, it contained all color. It wasn’t a negation of color. It was an acceptance. Because black encompasses all colors. Black is the most aristocratic color of all. ….You can be quiet and it contains the whole thing. There is no color that will give you the feeling of totality. Of peace. Of greatness. Of quietness. Of excitement. I have seen things that were transformed into black, that took on just greatness. I don’t know a lesser word.” – Louise Nevelson, Dawns & Dusks written by Diana MacKown, 1976

“From earliest, earliest childhood I knew I was going to be an artist. I felt like and artist. You feel it – just like you feel you’re a singer if you have a voice. So I have that blessing, and there was never a time that I questioned it or doubted it.” LN

Nevelson gained much of her recognition through her numerous exhibitions worldwide. Her rise to fame was driven by Arnie Glimcher’s opening of PACE Gallery in Boston, which shortly thereafter moved to New York City.  Her earlier dealers included Nierendorf Gallery and Martha Jackson Gallery, both of whom were hugely influential in establishing Modern Art in America.

As a major internationally recognized American artist, Nevelson just happened to be a woman. Ever fiercely flamboyant, she was influenced heavily by her mother’s sense of fashion and beauty despite her constant depression and illness which she battled. Nevelson’s keen compositional eye often lead her to design and construct her own clothes and jewelry, which of course enhanced her larger than life personality. On fashion and design, Nevelson was quoted saying, “you make a whole great picture because you want to enhance that one thing.”

Nevelson coined herself “the original recycler,” a scavenger, and one can draw parallels and inspiration to Marcel Duchamp’s found object sculptures of her early career. Working most comfortably in reclaimed wood, we can extrapolate that Nevelson felt a kinship to the raw materials. “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. Picasso was drawing like an angel in the crib. You’re born with it.” Coincidentally, Nevelson never felt the ominous weight of work. She never felt as though she was working, but more so creating and giving expression to varying elements. “I always wanted to show the world that art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind.” LN