Louise Nevelson’s best known and most characteristic works are the mysterious, large-scale wooden “walls” she first began making in the late 1950s. These compartmentalized assemblages of shallow wood crates, crammed with fragments of architectural ornamentation, pieces of cast-off furniture, and other found objects, were painted a uniform, flat black (and, later, white or gold). As suggested by the title of the Walker’s own dramatic wall sculpture, Sky Cathedral Presence, Nevelson transformed these composites of everyday wooden bric-a-brac into imposing, altarlike presences, infused with mystery. During the 1970s, Nevelson began to make works that were more individually conceived: flowers and trees in welded aluminum. Dawn Tree is an example of one of these later works. With its collage of flattened shapes and characteristic black-painted surfaces, it recalls her earlier wall reliefs. Its smaller stature, free-standing orientation, and playful reference to nature make it a fitting addition to the Garden.
© 1998 Walker Art Center