Vertical Zag I
Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988)
Not on View

A pioneering sculptor of the 20th century, Louise Nevelson is best known for her intricately designed, monochromatic wood sculptures. In Vertical Zag I, compartments housing cubes, cuboids (three–dimensional rectangles), pyramids, archways and cylinders compose a dynamic relief. The black monochrome finish, a common characteristic of Nevelson’s work, enhances the quiet monumentality of the sculpture, evoking the New York City skyline. Dubbing herself “The Architect of Shadow,” Nevelson aimed to capture shadows, transforming them into what feel like independent, elemental forms. In her own words, “You see shadow and everything else on earth actually is moving. Movement—that’s in color, that’s in form, that’s in almost everything. Shadow is fleeting... and I arrest it and I give it a solid substance.”


  • Artist Name: Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988)
  • Title: Vertical Zag I
  • Date: 1969
  • Medium: Painted wood and Formica
  • Dimensions: 80 x 29-3/8 x 4 in. (203.2 x 74.6 x 10.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist
  • Accession Number: P.1969.086
  • Copyright: © 2013 Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Object Information

Dunkelman Gallery, Toronto (?), 1968 to;
Louise Nevelson, Gift 1969 to;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1969-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.

Louise Nevelson

  • Scottsdale, Arizona, Fine Arts Commission, Civic Center Gallery, 1973-11-10 to 1973-12-10

Sculpture in Two Dimensions: The Prints of Moore and Nevelson

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1992-10-01 to 1993-03-14

True Grit: Female Visionaries Before Feminism

  • Lexington, University of Kentucky Art Museum, 2003-09-07 to 2003-10-26
  • New Orleans, Tulane University, Newcomb Art Gallery, 2003-12-04 to 2004-02-15
  • Metropolitan State College of Denver, Center for the Visual Arts, 2004-03-11 to 2004-04-25

Loan to the permanent collection, Virginia Steele Scott Galleries at the Huntington_4

  • The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, 2014-07-09 to 2016-10-31

Loan to the permanent collection, Virginia Steele Scott Galleries at the Huntington_1

  • The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, 2009-05-27 to 2015-12-17

Made in America: Contemporary Painting and Sculpture from the Norton Simon Museum

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1999-06-24 to 2000-03-26

Recent Acquisitions, 1969

  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1969-11-24 to 1970-01-18

Works from the Pasadena Art Museum

  • Vancouver Art Gallery, 1970-04-14 to 1970-05-10

Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2013-04-26 to 2014-01-06

Permanent and Loan Collection, 1974

  • Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, 1974-03-16 to 1974-06-06

Lost but Found: Assemblage, Collage and Sculpture, 1920-2002

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2004-11-05 to 2005-03-28

Radical Past: Contemporary Art and Music in Pasadena, 1960-1974

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1999-02-07 to 1999-06-06
  • Armory Center for the Arts, 1999-02-07 to 1999-04-11
  • Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.), 1999-02-07 to 1999-04-25
  • Pasadena Art Museum, Recent Acquisitions 1969, 1969, p. 27
  • Pace Gallery Catalog, 1969,
  • Scottsdale Civic Center, The Nevelson Gala, 1972,
  • Reilly, Richard, San Diego Union, 1979, pp. E-1, E-10
  • San Bernardino Sun, 1979,
  • Armory Center for the Arts/Art Center College of Design, Radical Past: Contemporary Art & Music in Pasadena, 1960-1974, 1999, p. 83

Additional Artwork by Artist

Untitled Louise Nevelson 1967
Untitled Louise Nevelson 1967
Untitled Louise Nevelson 1967

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