Cowboy hat and scarf on his head, chinchilla coat casually draped over the shoulders, vertiginous false eyelashes. In 1974, Louise Nevelson thus posed in majesty in front of the lens of Jack Mitchell. Hieratic and haughty, wildly extravagant at the age of 75. The American artist had made his old age the scene of a sartorial revolution, cultivating in his clothes the same sense of patchwork as for his immense assemblages of scrap metal, boxes and wooden objects, glued, nailed, then standardized by a matt paint. black or white.
To the mishmash of her outfits, Louise Nevelson often added one or more jewels that she made in the spirit of her sculptures, magnifying with a simple gold leaf a modest aggregate of blackened wood. « Sometimes she found a crushed Coke can, she added a little gold leaf and a chain and walked around with it, like a breastplate », remembers Arne Glimcher, founder of the Pace Gallery, who was at the same time his dealer, friend and confidant. « It was quite natural, like an extension of his sculptural work », specifies her granddaughter, Maria Nevelson, recalling that at the end of her life Louise Nevelson produced more luxurious specimens, set in white and yellow gold.
Gold, fetish material
When he died in 1988, his family listed nearly 200 jewelry models. In particular, a large necklace-brooch, dated 1985, made from a juxtaposition of clothespins and whose originality caught the eye of Hedi Slimane. The artistic director of the Celine brand has reinterpreted this set, by reproducing the flats in blackened oak, connected by asymmetrical metal bars.
To avoid confusion with the original, he reduced its size slightly and substituted vermeil and silver for gold, Nevelson’s favorite material. Both faithful and unique, the result has obtained the approval of Maria Nevelson, who considers this jewel to be « A talisman, the symbol of an exceptional woman who, by her very existence, has allowed other women to live their lives ».
Because Louise Nevelson freed herself from all conventions, family and artistic, by rising to the highest level at a time when creators were assigned a subordinate place. To be a sculptor, « You have to have some in your pants », he was told in his youth. What she replied, tit for tat: » I do not have. « She was a badass, confirms Arne Glimcher. Nothing could stop him! «
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