Louise Berliawsky Nevelson (born Leah Berliawsky; September 23, 1899 – April 17, 1988) was an American artist.
Louise Nevelson was born Leah Berliawsky in a Jewish family in Pereiaslav (now Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Kiev Oblast) in the Ukraine, Russia, the daughter of Isaac and Minna Berliawsky. In 1902, when Nevelson was 3 years old, the family moved to the United States and settled in Rockland, Maine.
Nevelson grew up in Rockland, spending most of her adolescent years there, and there is now a street named for her in Rockland. After graduating from high school in 1918, she married Charles Nevelson, a businessman. Together they had a son, Myron. Louise and Charles separated in 1931.
She studied at the Art Students League in New York City during 1929–30. She later studied with Hans Hofmann in Munich, worked as an assistant to Diego Rivera, and studied life drawing and painting with George Grosz at the Art Students League. As a part of the Works Progress Administration, she taught art at the Educational Alliance art school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, where she also studied sculpture with Chaim Gross.
Nevelson died in New York City, New York in 1988. Her estate is represented by the Pace Gallery, New York. She was honored by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President in March of 2008 and was included in a map of historical sites related or dedicated to important women.
Nevelson is known for her abstract expressionist “crates” grouped together to form a new creation. She used found objects or everyday discarded things in her “assemblages” or assemblies, one of which was three stories high: "When you put together things that other people have thrown out, you’re really bringing them to life – a spiritual life that surpasses the life for which they were originally created."
Some work done by Nevelson memorialized the Holocaust. Nevelson often worked in shallow-relief, often monochromatically. Nevelson's work is not easily allied with any one movement, though it has been variously linked to Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Abstract expressionism, Minimalism, feminism, and installation art.
While executing sculptures in wood throughout her career, Nevelson also worked in lucite, aluminum, and magnesium. She also worked in cast paper and during the early 1980s employed Cor-ten steel as sculptural material.