Atmosphere and Environment X

Between Nassau Street and Firestone Library
Louise Nevelson
American, born in Russia, 1900

In describing her art, Louise Nevelson has written: "I do not belong to any movement. As my work is related to the present time, it is bound to be related to that of others, consciously or not...." Her art may be more closely related to her collections of African Art, American farm tools, architectural elements, and diverse other fragments of the past and her attraction to the art and architecture of pre-Columbian Mexico and Central America.

Nevelson has a penchant for rectilinear format in which shapes and patterns, rhythms and accents, tend toward repetition and read in narrative fashion. Together with her use of such "abstract" non-hues as black, white, and gold (equivalent to the space-erasing gold backgrounds of mosaics and icons) one finds the influence of the orientalized art of Byzantium and its Russian derivatives.

She was well past fifty when she began to create the extraordinary shadow box reliefs and walls of wood that constitute her masterworks; she was nearly seventy when she undertook the Princeton commission for her first monumental outdoor sculpture in Cor-Ten steel.

Atmosphere and Environment X is basically a two dimensional architectonic screen, increased in depth by projections and setbacks; it achieves character and magic from the play of natural light over surface geometry.

Cor-Ten steel
Height: 21 feet; length: 16 feet
Executed in 1969-70; installed in 1971

previous next

Text based on
Living with Modern Sculpture
by Patrick J. Kelleher.

Concept developed by Mary Jane Lydenberg, Annual Giving
Illustrations by Heather Lovett
Edited by Laurel Masten Cantor

Published by the Office of
Communications/Publications, Stanhope Hall
through special arrangement with
the Princeton Art Museum

All rights reserved
Copyright (c) 1982 by
the trustees of Princeton University