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Louise Nevelson
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    (September 23, 1899-April 17, 1988)
    Born in Kiev, Ukraine
    Birth name was Leah Berliawsky
    Known for her room-sized 'assemblages' of found objects
    Works include 'Dawn's Wedding Feast' (1959), 'Homage to 6,000,000 I' (1964), 'Self Portrait: Silent Music IV' (1964) and 'Night Presence IV' (1973)
    Awarded the National Medal of the Arts (1985)
    Art dealer Arnold Glimcher said her life was 'such an intricate pattern of fantasy synthesized with reality that separation of myth and fact is nearly impossible.'
    She neglected her son while obsessing over her work.
    Her flamboyant dress style -- featuring colorful costumes, headscarves and multiple layers of false eyelashes -- was described by Time as 'a cross between Catherine the Great and a bag lady.'
    At a dinner in her honor, she stood and said, 'First of all, I want to thank myself.'
    After separating from her husband, a wealthy shipowner, she refused alimony and child support (1931).
    Cue magazine wrote of her first solo exhibition (1941), 'We learned the artist was a woman in time to check our enthusiasm. Had it been otherwise, we might have hailed these sculpted expressions as by surely a great figure among the moderns.'
    At age 60, she was featured in the Museum of Modern Art's 'Sixteen Americans' show alongside contemporary artists two to three decades her junior.
    She said of her late fame, 'Life isn't one straight line. Most of us have to be transplanted, like a tree, before we blossom.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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