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    Sale 7619

    Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale

    21 October 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 224

    Louise Nevelson (1899-1988)


    Price Realised  


    Louise Nevelson (1899-1988)
    wood, painted gold
    70 x 23¾ x 11¾in. (177.8 x 60.4 x 30cm.)

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    Louise Nevelson began to execute wood assemblages in the early 1940s, utilizing fragments of carved wood, pieces of furniture, milk boxes, lettuce crates, and any other enclosures to create wall reliefs and free-standing sculptures. Nevelson chose wood because of its texture and its "livingness." This medium, she once stated, "afforded her greater spontaneity and creative intensity" (Nevelson quoted in Louise Nevelson, Dwans + Dusks Taped Conversations with Diana MacKown, New York 1976, p. 78). The present work refers to Nevelson's gold period. From the outset, she painted her assemblages in one colour to obscure the original identity of their constituting elements and to create an impression of oneness. All-black pieces were succeeded by all-white and, in the early 1960s, by all-gold ones.

    Nevelson, though feverishly energetic, took great care in organising and composing pre-existing units into unified sculptural assemblages based on architectonic principles. With its vertical stability, its sophisticated interplay of light and shadow and its luminosity, the present work typifies her artistic endeavor, which, as she defined it, was "basically [...] like architecture." She explained, "the principles have to be valid because it has to stand, and not only physically, but stand on this other level of creation" (ibid., p. 64). A deeply spiritual person, Nevelson assigned a quasi-religious purpose to the combination of forms in her art. The columnar shape of this work recalls the totems of American Indian art, which, along with African art, strongly influenced her. The radiance of the shimmering gold also suggests artistic and spiritual rebirth. In Nevelson's eyes, gold was "a metal that reflects the great sun" (ibid., p. 144).

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    Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris.
    Fänn and Willy Schniewind Collection, Neviges and thence by descent to the present owner.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the provenance for this lot should read:

    Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris.
    Fänn and Willy Schniewind Collection, Neviges and thence by descent to the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text