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First Personage

Louise Nevelson

Contemporary Art

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.”
MEDIUM Painted wood
DATES 1956
DIMENSIONS 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)
SIGNATURE Unsigned
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 57.23a-b
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Berliawsky
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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CAPTION 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)
IMAGE overall, 57.23a-b_front_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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