In her trademark bandanna and exotic garb, flamboyant, self-assertive Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) posed as high priestess of modern sculpture. This persona, according to Lisle's solidly researched biography, was the convenient mask of a woman torn by lifelong depression and inferiority feelings, crippling guilt over the son she neglected and the desire to pursue personal independence at any cost. Born Leah Berliawsky in czarist Russia, she escaped a penurious girlhood in Maine by marrying shipping broker Charles Nevelson (whom she later divorced) and moving to New York City in 1920. During her years of bitter struggle for recognition, she took many lovers (among them Diego Rivera) while avoiding emotional commitment to any one man. As Lisle, biographer of Georgia O'Keeffe, charts Nevelson's trajectory from obscurity to celebrity, the reader is left with the impression of a sad, guarded woman for whom art was life. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990 Release date: 02/01/1990 Genre: Nonfiction
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