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Louise Nevelson page

Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life
Simon & Schuster/Summit Books, 1990
Pocket Books/Washington Square Press, 1991
Open Road, 2017


Louise Nevelson is recognized as one of America's most original sculptors. Born in Russia and raised in Maine, she became an integral part of the New York art scene in the mid-twentieth century. She was best known for creating black, white, or gold assemblages from pieces of found wood. 


Buy Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life


Excerpts of Laurie's interview in documentary film titled 
"Nevelson - Awareness in the Fourth Dimension" by Dale Schierholt

More reviews of Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life

"Lisle's admiration and respect for Nevelson's long struggle and enchanted cabinets and walls are always evident, but she lets the evidence speak. [It]"is a levelheaded biography. It is neither hagiographic nor snide. It is not sensational, even though the life recorded here had its tabloid moments." ~ Michael Brenson, The New York Times Book Review

“The prize comes at last. Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life just won’t be put down. This biography of a monstre sacre is a tale of hard-tacks heroism and heedless swipes at those who dared to love her.” ~ Interview


"What emerges from this strenuous research is a rich and mostly sympathetic portrait of a major American sculptor...Lisle makes interesting speculations about the psychological impetus for Nevelson's choices of color and medium, and she deftly weaves the life and work into a single tapestry...engrossing." 

~ Hilma Wolitzer, The Chicago Tribune


"Lisle's view of Nevelson's often ruthless behavior is both compassionate and clear-eyed...[she] has constructed a colorful, rich study of Nevelson's creative evolution...Lisle brings to especially clear light Nevelson's personal, if chilly, flair [giving] A Passionate Life, its gritty richness." ~ Sarah Wright, The Boston Sunday Herald


"Lisle presents a figure whose eroticism seems far richer, far more complex than mere sexual appeal...[seeing] both the pain and the joy surrounding Nevelson's eccentric behavior...[Her] book is impressive in its thoroughness, which nonetheless results in ‘good reading’ by virtue of its interweaving of personal and professional information, its eclectic introduction of psychological analysis, and a phraseology that appreciates both the pain and the joy surrounding Nevelson's eccentric behavior.” ~ Woman's Art Journal

From the introduction to Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life

"The contradiction between her work and her persona interested me--the assertive sculptures that demolished old assumptions about women artists' work and her lavish, ultrafeminine presentation of herself..."


"Although Nevelson gave many boxes of her papers to several archives, they contain little written in her own hand...I concentrated on her spoken words and unambiguous actions, old photographs, memories and observations of her family and friends, and the way she deliberately placed herself in settings precisely the way she placed a fragment of old wood in an assemblage..."


"She painted a few evocative self-portraits in oil, but most self-portraits were in the form of abstract black constructions. She admitted that she was working on her autobiography when...she created First Personage, a double-figure sculpture suggesting highly fragile composure and barely restrained aggressiveness..."