About the Artist
Louise Nevelson (1899–1988) was born in Russia and immigrated with her family to the United States. Her desire to become an artist was present at a young age and, according to Nevelson, “From earliest childhood, I knew I was going to be an artist. I felt like an artist.” Nevelson moved to New York City and studied at the Art Students League of New York in the 1930s. Excelling in her studies and work, Nevelson had her first solo exhibition by 1941. Well known for her sculptural instillations using monochromatic wooden objects found around the city, Nevelson created her sculptures in different sizes using a variety of materials. Nevelson’s technique to create the assemblages was inspired by Cubism and different cultural influences. Nevelson would paint her assemblages one solid color, including black, white, or gold. By painting her assemblages she would obscure the identity of each object while creating unity throughout her work.
About the Art
Royal Game I, 1961, is a monochromatic assemblage consisting of three large rectangular boxes containing numerous pieces of wooden found objects. Oval picture frames, flat geometric shapes, intricate furniture limbs, and other oddities are fit together in each of the separate rectangular sections. Some objects appear to overlap or are slightly hidden within the assemblage, including a ladder and bedposts. Objects within the works are layered on top of one another, adding additional depth in each section of the assemblage. A smaller box containing further objects is positioned inside of each of the rectangular boxes.
While the assemblage appears to be unsystematic, Nevelson’s composition is balanced and harmonious. Nevelson repeats different shapes inside of the assemblage, including circles, rectangles, and triangles. A variety of textures are seen throughout each rectangle box, including flat, smooth, splintered wood, and curved edges. The monochromatic gold paint creates unity in the sculpture, as well as a sense of sophistication or royalty that is reflected in the title, Royal Game I.