In 1929, Louise Nevelson was a disappointed housewife with a young son, surrounded by New York’s vibrant artistic community but unable to fully engage with it. By 1950, she was a working artist living on her own. Though financially dependent on her family, she had received a glimmer of recognition from the establishment: inclusion in a group show at the Whitney Museum of America Art. In 1980, Nevelson celebrated her second Whitney retrospective. Her work was held in public collections around the world; her massive steel sculptures graced public spaces in seventeen states, including the Louise Nevelson Plaza in New York City’s Financial District.
The story of Nevelson’s artistic, spiritual, even physical transformation (she developed a taste for outrageous outfits and false eyelashes made of mink) is dramatic, complex and inseparable from major historical and cultural shifts of the twentieth century, particularly in the art world. Art historian and psychoanalyst Laurie Wilson brings a unique and sensitive perspective to Nevelson’s story, drawing on hours of interviews she conducted with Nevelson and her circle. Nearly one hundred images, many of them drawn from personal archives and never before published, make this the most visually and narratively comprehensive biography of this extraordinary artist yet published.