Dawn’s Forest is Louise Nevelson’s largest, most complex environmental sculpture and her last major work.
Created in the artist’s signature assemblage style, the monumental sculpture is made of various white-painted abstract wood elements. The work’s monochromatic color gives a sense of unity to its disparate objects, the white finish suggestive of the untainted possibilities that dawn brings to each day. The tree-like standing columns, as tall as 25 feet, and vertical hanging pieces all underscore the forest-like atmosphere, allowing the viewer to walk under the “trees” as well as through them.
Nevelson worked on Dawn’s Forest for more than a year, completing it in the spring of 1986. It is unusual among her environmental sculptures because of its size and its color; most of her other large works were painted black. Commissioned by Georgia-Pacific and MetLife, Dawn’s Forest was displayed at the Georgia-Pacific Center in Atlanta from 1986 until 2010. It was gifted to The Baker Museum of Art in 2010.
Born in Kiev, Russia in 1899, Louise Nevelson immigrated to the United States in 1905. She grew up in Rockland, Maine and later moved to New York City, where she lived most of her life. After a brief marriage and the birth of a son, Nevelson went to Munich to study art with Hans Hofmann. She returned to New York in 1932 and fully committed herself to her art.
Nevelson is widely recognized as one of the preeminent American artists of the last half of the 20th century. A pioneer of installation art, she struggled for decades in near-obscurity before winning widespread recognition in her 60s. By the late 1970s, ARTnews proclaimed “Louise Nevelson’s name is probably recognized more than that of any other American artist.”
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website