Collection 1940s–1970s

Louise Nevelson. Big Black. 1963

Painted wood, 9' 1/4" x 10' 5 3/4" x 12" (274.9 x 319.5 x 30.5 cm). Gift of Vera G. List. © 2023 Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Ann Temkin: This sculpture has compartments in it, each of which combine and contain different found pieces of wood. All of it is painted black, creating what has often been called a wall of sculpture.

Glenn Lowry: Though she grew up in a family of lumber dealers, it took several decades of working as an artist for Nevelson to settle on wood as her medium of choice. Here’s the artist, speaking in 1964:

Louise Nevelson, Archival: I found lumber on the street that had nails in it and some nail holes in it and different forms and different shapes and I just nailed them together and I knew this was art, and I began to learn more about the technique, learn more about the forms; and went right on.