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Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988) Maquette for Sky Landscape I (A)

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American & European Works of Art - 3140B
Date / Time :
September 21, 2018 10:00AM


Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988)

Maquette for Sky Landscape I (A)
Incised signature and number "NEVELSON 5/6/7987" on the underside, titled and dated "...1977-79" on a label from The Pace Gallery, New York, affixed to the underside.
Welded steel painted black, height 30 1/4 in. (76.8 cm).
Condition: Dust and dirt to the interstices, possible small area of oxidation to the base.

Provenance: A private Massachusetts collection.

Literature: Nevelson: Maquettes for Monumental Sculpture, exhibition catalog, New York: The Pace Gallery, 1980, illustrated.

Exhibitions: Nevelson: Maquettes for Monumental Sculpture, The Pace Gallery, New York, May 2–June 27, 1980.

N.B. Louise Nevelson made her first monumental outdoor steel sculpture, Atmosphere and Environment X (Princeton University), in 1969. By that time, she was already recognized as one of the leading figures in twentieth-century American sculpture. She had represented the United States at the 1962 Venice Biennale and had been honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1967.

This maquette for the large Sky Landscape I (currently on view at the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park) demonstrates the elegance of Nevelson's smooth opaque black surfaces, and the balanced fusion of her geometric angles and anthropomorphic curves.

Nevelson developed her signature monochromatic, spray-painted wooden assemblages in the 1950s and began to translate the hallmarks of her style--monochromatic black color, collage/assemblage form, and influences from Native American and Mayan art and from Cubism--to steel in order to fulfill the Princeton commission. She embraced the idea of her works being able to withstand the outdoor environment, and the freedom in moving beyond limitations in size. She said, "Remember, I was in my early seventies when I came into monumental outdoor sculpture ... I had been through the enclosures of wood. I had been through the shadows. I had been through the enclosures and come out into the open." (1)

(1) Rapaport, Brooke Kamin. The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend. New York: Jewish Museum of New York, 2007, pp. 21-22.
Estimate $50,000-70,000

There are scattered small spots of accretion or oxidation, most evident on the base. There are very small pigment losses to some exterior corners and scattered unobtrusive abrasions.

Width: 27 in. at widest point.
Diameter of base: 16 in.
Length of horizontal element at base: 19 1/2 in.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


B. Louise Nevelson, Brooke Kamin, Contemporary art, Louise Nevelson, Olympic Sculpture Park, Sculpture, Sculpture of the United States, Sky Landscape, Visual arts, Rapaport, United States