Louise Nevelson (American, 1899–1988) was a Ukrainian-born sculptor and printmaker, who grew up in Rockland, Maine, after arriving in the United States at a young age. In 1920, Nevelson moved with her husband to New York, where she worked as a performing artist and studied sculpture at the Art Students League.
She separated from her husband in 1931 and traveled to Europe to study, but returned to America as the political situation in Germany worsened. Like many other artists in the 1930s, she was employed by the Works Progress Administration, first assisting Diego Rivera on his mural Portrait of America and later teaching at the Educational Alliance School of Art.
In 1941, Nevelson was awarded her first one-woman show at the Nierendorf Gallery, New York; the following year, she began to create assemblages using found objects, leading to the style of her mature sculptures. Her large-scale environment Moon Garden Plus One was on display during her 1958 show at the Grand Central Moderns Gallery and brought her wide-spread recognition. In the late 1950s and 1960s, she created monochromatic assemblages and environments influenced by Abstract Expressionism from wood, terracotta, and clear perspex.
Her later sculptures, which were often intended for outdoor environments, took a more geometric form and utilized industrial materials, such as Cor-Ten steel, which allowed for structural innovations beyond the capability of regular steel. In the last decade of her life, Nevelson received numerous awards, including the Guggenheim Museum’s Great Artist Series Award in 1986.