Vertical Zag I
Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988)
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.

Sculpture in Two Dimensions: The Prints of Moore and Nevelson

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1992-10-01 to 1993-03-14
Pasadena Art Museum, Recent Acquisitions 1969, p. 27
Armory Center for the Arts/Art Center College of Design, Radical Past: Contemporary Art & Music in Pasadena, 1960-1974, p. 83
Pace Gallery Catalog,
Scottsdale Civic Center, The Nevelson Gala,
Reilly, Richard, San Diego Union, pp. E-1, E-10
San Bernardino Sun,

Additional Artwork by Artist

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

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form