Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - Untitled

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Louise Nevelson , (Sept 23, 1899–April 17, 1988)


30 1/8 in. x 23 3/8 in. (76.52 cm x 59.37 cm)

Medium and Support: Painted wood
Credit Line: Museum purchase, in honor of Esther Cohn Elson
Accession Number: 2000.78
Current Location: Loan


As a budding artist, Louise Nevelson was exposed, through the instruction of Hans Hofmann, to various types of art and techniques—Cubism, collage, Surrealism, and indigenous art forms from various parts of the world—that would ultimately inform her mature work. Starting in 1941, Nevelson began to exhibit her avant-garde sculptural environments, which often included found objects painted black to obscure their origin, function, and meaning. By the late 1950s, the artist had developed what is now identified as her signature style: all-black, box-like relief wood sculptures, ranging in scale from singular units—often in diptych format like this one—to modular pieces occupying entire walls. Despite the sheer blackness of the sculpture, the play between light and shadow caused by the topography of the surface is visually intriguing, thus encouraging the close observation of detail.

Kelley Tialiou
Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Assistant | Librarian | Archivist

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