On view


American, born Russia, 1899–1988
City on the High Mountain, 1983
Painted steel
20 ft. 6 in. x 23 ft. x 13 ft. 6 in. (624.8 x 701 x 411.5 cm)
Purchase Fund
© 2017 Estate of Louise Nevelson/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson
Louise Nevelson’s City on the High Mountain, sited just outside Storm King’s Museum Building, is a playful and complex assemblage of black-painted steel. Nevelson frequently combined elements from existing works to create new compositions, and City on a High Mountain is sourced from models for different sculptures she had created several years earlier. Conjoining the elements with large curvilinear shapes, she eventually enlarged what was a ten-foot model to the sculpture’s current height of more than twenty feet. Additional pieces added to create the final composition include the grill-like “lace,” which reminded her of lace doilies from her childhood, and a gong-like, suspended element. Of the ball of railroad spikes, created several years earlier and placed at the very top, Nevelson noted, “Sometimes it’s only a period that really finishes the sentence, and that was the period that finished that sentence.” The entire assemblage is painted black, a signature color Nevelson used extensively for three decades. “In the academic world, they used to say black and white were no colors,” Nevelson observed, “but I’m twisting that to tell you that for me it is the total color. It means totality. It means: contains all.”

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Other works by this artist