Louise Nevelson described this sculpture as “one of the first major pieces” she created. The “personage’s” undulating frontal slab suggests a composed, outer persona, and the spiky column behind, an inner, agitated, true self. Nevelson later recalled that the work’s persona emerged in the process of creation: “While I was filing and working away at it, there was a knot where the mouth was supposed to be, just a plain knot, and I, being so concentrated, all of a sudden I saw this knot, mouth moving. And the whole thing was black by then and it frightened me.”
a) 94 x 37 1/16 x 11 1/4 in. (238.8 x 94.1 x 28.6 cm); b) 73 11/16 x 24 3/16 x 7 1/4 in. (187.2 x 61.4 x 18.4 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Berliawsky
© artist or artist's estate
Copyright for this work may be controlled by the artist, the artist's estate, or other rights holders. A more detailed analysis of its rights history may, however, place it in the public domain.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Louise Nevelson (American, born Russia, 1899-1988). First Personage, 1956. Painted wood, a) 94 x 37 1/16 x 11 1/4 in. (238.8 x 94.1 x 28.6 cm); b) 73 11/16 x 24 3/16 x 7 1/4 in. (187.2 x 61.4 x 18.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Berliawsky, 57.23a-b. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 57.23a-b_front_SL1.jpg)
overall, 57.23a-b_front_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.