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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Louise Nevelson

b. 1899, Kiev, Ukraine; d. 1988, New York

Louise Nevelson, a vanguard abstract sculptor in the United States, achieved recognition at a comparatively late age. She was thirty years old when she made a serious commitment to art, at the beginning of the Depression. She studied under Hans Hofmann at the Art Student League of New York, where she was introduced to collage and Cubism; both were fundamental to her artistic development. She began making constructivist sculpture in 1932. The next year, she assisted Diego Rivera in the production of his Portrait of America murals at the New Workers School, and in 1937 she taught at the Educational Alliance School of Art under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration. Her first solo exhibition was held at the Nierendorf Gallery in New York in 1941 and throughout the 1940s she experimented with abstract wood assemblages. Toward the end of the 1950s, she began to create the sculptured walls which placed her at the forefront of assemblage art and established her international reputation. Belated fame brought many exhibitions and honors, along with numerous public commissions.