- Gallery Text
Nevelson created commanding abstract sculptures assembled from bits of furniture and architectural fragments that she salvaged from the streets of New York. In her studio, she and her assistants put the pieces together using carpentry tools. Painted black and placed in an irregular organizing system of wooden crates and boxes, these urban scraps and containers take on a dramatic pictorial unity while simultaneously referencing their former use. Nevelson’s work draws on a rich history of found-object sculpture, from Marcel Duchamp’s readymades to surrealist assemblage. Like David Smith, Nevelson used modern construction materials to develop distinct forms of abstraction. Together their work opened a way for a younger generation of artists for whom mass-produced objects held more power than the painted canvas.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Louise Nevelson, American (Kiev, Russia 1899 - 1988 New York, NY)
- Total Totality II
- Work Type
- Creation Place: North America, United States
Level 1, Room 1110, Modern and Contemporary Art, Mid–century Abstraction II
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- Physical Descriptions
- Painted wood
- 258.13 x 429.9 x 24.77 cm (101 5/8 x 169 1/4 x 9 3/4 in.)
- Louise Nevelson, New York NY, Constructed, 1959, Sold to Richard H. Solomon.
Richard H. Solomon, New York NY, Purchased from Louise Nevelson, Gift to Fogg Art Museum, 1978.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Richard H. Solomon in honor of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney L. Solomon
- © Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
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- Publication History
Louise Nevelson, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Houston, TX, 1969), no. 16, reproduced in b/w
Caroline A. Jones, Modern Art at Harvard: The Formation of the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press, 1985). With an essay by John Coolidge and a preface by John M. Rosenfield. To accompany the inaugural exhibition at the Sackler Museum, Oct 21 1985 - Jan 5 1986, reproduced in b/w fig. 95, p. 99
- Exhibition History
Louise Nevelson, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 10/23/1969 - 12/14/1969; University of Texas at Austin Art Museum, Austin, 01/15/1970 - 02/15/1970
Modern Art at Harvard, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/21/1985 - 01/05/1986
Shades of Significance, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/11/1993 - 02/25/1996
32Q: 1110 Mid-Century Abstraction II (Post-Painterly Abstraction), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Related Media
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