Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) stands as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. She is renowned for her monochromatic sculptural wooden constructions. However, Nevelson worked and experimented for nearly 30 years before arriving at her signature style in the 1960s.

In recent years there has been an increase in scholarship, awareness and collector interest in Nevelson's early work. This drawing is a fine example from this period. 

After Nevelson divorced in 1931, she was finally liberated to devote herself to art-making. She studied at the Art Students League in New York and made several influential trips to Europe where she began studying with Hans Hoffmann.  Back in New York, she worked briefly for the Works Progress Administration, where she met Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and befriended other "downtown" New York artists, eager to assimilate into the "scene".

While Nevelson had a long exhibition history, it was only in the 1950s that she got a foothold in significant galleries. For most of Nevelson's adult life, selling art was a struggle. 

This unique and elegant line drawing reveals a distinct expression of modernism. The influence of both Picasso and Matisse is evident. The nude figure's lines are shaped bold and present, almost sculptural. Many of Nevelson's creations in the 1930s and '40s demonstrate an ambivalence towards figuration. It is only in the 1950s that her work begins to assert itself as pure abstraction. 

Increasing scholarly and market attention has been placed on Nevelson's early work. For example in 2018 the Whitney Museum presented "The Face and the Moon" which explored Nevelson's prints and drawings from the first three decades of her career. 

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USA, circa 1935

Signed by the artist

Ink on paper

10.5"H 9.5"W (work)

14"H 13"W (framed)

Very good condition

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