Courtesy National Portrait Gallery
Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson (Leah Berliawski) was born in 1899 in Perejaslav-Chmelnytskyj, Russia (now Ukraine) in a Jewish Orthodox family that emigrated to the USA in 1905. In the 1960s, she achieved major recognition, and late in life became one of the most celebrated post-war sculptors. In Downtown New York, where she lived from the 1920s until her death, she was a familiar figure, with her heavy, black lashes, known as the grande dame of sculpture.

Influenced by cubism and the German-French artist Jean Arp, Louise Nevelson (1899–1988) began early in her career to make sculptures and assemblages out of wood objects she found in the street. By painting them matte black, she combined the separate elements into a totality. For Nevelson, black represented all colors in one, and the harmony she sought in her art.

[Moderna Museet]