"It has been some ten years since the death of Louise Nevelson, one of America's most vital and distinguished sculptors. In the decade following her death, a decade that has been witness to a vast array of sculptors working in her mode of installation, it is at once telling and surprising that Nevelson has not been given greater critical attention or been explored in greater depth.
Nevelson's career was long and fruitful. Like a great twentieth-century legend it began with the Old World and continued to the New. Her childhood began in Tsarist Russia and continued with her family's emigration from Kev to the United States, and the making of a new home in Rockland, Maine. Nevelson left Maine at the age of nineteen to marry and ultimately to pursue her artistic ambitions in New York. Those dreams also led her to travel the world as much as she could afford. In pursuit of an art education, she studied with Hans Hofmann in Munich in 1931 and, a year later, worked with the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Between these engagements she studied dance with Ellen Kearns and peformed as an extra in several films made in pre-Nazi Berlin and Vienna.
But it was back in New York, int he era of the WPA and the New Deal, where she developed her real skills and ideas about her self and her work. She always worked on her own, facilitating her own aesthetic goals and agenda. 'I do not belong to any movement,' she is quoted as proudly saying. And she was devoted to her studio: 'I am as happy in my studio as a cow in her stall,' she said to one interviewer. Yet Nevelson was always well aware of the ongoing trends, the cycles and discussions about the changing face of contemporary American art. She was astute to the shifting movements in American art: those that took place in the two decades following World War II and those following the Vietnam conflict as well. While her works may parallel different movements at times, from forms of expresisonism to minimalism, her creative ideals remained always her own."
-excerpt from Michael Klein's "Louise Nevelson: An Appreciation" from Louise Nevelson: Sculpture and Collage, Locks Art Publications, 1999