Louise Nevelson Sculpture in Houston: "Frozen Laces - One"

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Frozen Laces - One (1979-1980) by artist Louise Nevelson

Frozen Laces - One (1979-1980) by artist Louise Nevelson

Abstract Sculpture

This abstract, black-painted Cor-ten steel sculpture by Louise Nevelson is a standout! It provides quite an artistic statement situated among the sleek modern buildings surrounding this public art installation in downtown Houston, Texas.

The sculpture is titled Frozen Laces - One and was created between the years 1979 to 1980. Louise Nevelson was known for her monochromatic puzzle-like sculptures, and this is certainly a good example.

Frozen Laces - One is at 1400 Smith Street, Houston, Texas 77002 near the pretty Bob and Vivian Smith Fountain.

Marker in the ground identifying Frozen Laces - One sculpture by Louise Nevelson

Marker in the ground identifying Frozen Laces - One sculpture by Louise Nevelson

Background of Louise Nevelson

1899 was the year of this artist's birth, and she worked well into her 80s. Her fame as a female sculptor took off in the 1950s.

Born with the name of Leah Barliawsky in Kyiv, Ukraine, to a Jewish family, her father moved the family to the United States to avoid Russian persecution. Those were turbulent days in her life. By 1905 her family had moved to Maine.

Upon graduating from high school, Leah married Charles Nevelson and changed her first name to Louise. She bore their son in 1922. Motherhood, and marriage, for that matter, did not suit her. She left her husband after eleven years.

By 1932 Louise had moved to Germany to study cubism but returned to the United States because the Nazis had closed down the school. In New York, she studied all types of art, including painting, printing, and sculpting. Expressionism was her chosen style.

After her work was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1950s, her fortunes increased. Collectors and other museums now wished to have her creations. She was becoming well-known and more and more people appreciated her art. She could rely upon a steady income from sales of her art.

Louise Nevelson was able to live quite a glamorous lifestyle and did so for some time. She wore distinctive hairstyles, heavy makeup, and expensive gowns. In later years, she chose to live very simply without the need for an accumulation of possessions.

In the video below is a synopsis of the life of Louise Nevelson.

Women at that time were supposed to look pretty and throw little handkerchiefs around... well, I couldn't play that role.

— Louise Nevelson

Nevelson's Chosen Art Mediums and Color

The majority of her first works of art came from found objects. Boxes, various pieces of wood, and even discarded toilet seats might make it into her cubist designs.

Black is the color that Louise Nevelson chose to utilize for most of her sculptures. She let the design of the piece speak for itself. The objects in her sculptures became unified without the distraction of pigments.

I fell in love with black; it contained all color. It wasn't a negation of color... Black is the most aristocratic color of all... You can be quiet, and it contains the whole thing.

— Louise Nevelson

Distant view of Frozen Laces - One sculpture by Louise Nevelson

Distant view of Frozen Laces - One sculpture by Louise Nevelson

Medium of Steel

As Louise Nevelson became successful, she could afford to pay for higher-priced mediums like steel. At that point, she worked side by side with men in a foundry. She wanted to oversee her designs welded into shape.

Most sculptors back in those days were men, so she served as a groundbreaker in that role.

In my studio I'm as happy as a cow in her stall. That's the only place where everything is all right.

— Louise Nevelson

Below is one giant art sculpture of Louise Nevelson's titled "Mrs. N's Palace."

Frozen Laces - One sculpture by Louise Nevelson

Frozen Laces - One sculpture by Louise Nevelson

Downtown Houston

When looking at this piece of sculptural art, you can see that every angle of her sculpture looks different, and of course, the Houston downtown city background varys as well.

We are fortunate to have so many public art sculptures in Houston, Texas. This one by Louise Nevelson is just one of many ones gracing our downtown streets.

If you wish to see more art pieces by this artist, including an installation into a gallery, be sure to watch the video below.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 23, 2020:

Hi Liz,

I always enjoy learning about the artists as well as looking at their work, whether it is sculpture, paintings, photographic art, or some other form. Glad you enjoyed this.

Liz Westwood from UK on March 23, 2020:

This is a fascinating sculpture. As always, you have done a great job in providing explanation and plenty of background detail about the sculptress.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 22, 2020:

Hello MG Singh,

Yes, it will probably be some time before any of us will be flying between countries again. Glad you liked looking at this sculpture from afar. Stay safe!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on March 22, 2020:

Looks an interesting piece of sculpture. Must make it to this place on my next visit but oh! I will have to wait till the ebbing of the cronavirus.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 21, 2020:

Hi Linda,

We do have a pretty downtown area, particularly where this sculpture is located with all of the tall buildings surrounding parts of it. Happy to know that you enjoyed seeing this sculpture.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 21, 2020:

The sculpture is very interesting. I like the fact that it has intricate shapes that could be interpreted in different ways. I enjoyed looking at the Houston scenery as well as the sculpture.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

We certainly do have the attractions and public art in the Houston area. Glad you liked this sculpture by Louise Nevelson.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 18, 2020:

She was ahead of time in sculpting and thinking. I admire her. I love her quote. It's amazing that she liked black so much. I wonder what happened that she left her marriage? Another example of Houston's many attractions. Well done!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

What I learned about her, she must have been quite the character!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2020:

Hi Bill,

You are 100% correct! Ha! Art interpretation, particularly when it is abstract, leaves much to the imagination.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 18, 2020:

Louise Nevelson's life and her art is very uniquent. I really like it and the video of her life was very interesting. Your pictures and descriptions of this woman are very good.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2020:

I love abstract art. It can be anything I want it to be and I'm not wrong. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

That is the beautiful thing about art. Everyone can pretty much interpret it in their own way. The setting of this one is spectacular with the contrast of the modern glass buildings around it.

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 17, 2020:

I like this gutsy and creative woman. I don’t quite understand her art but that’s okay. If given a chance, my daughter could definitely explain it to me in a way I’d never imagine. I still like looking at it. the contrast of black steel against the Houston glass mirrored building is impressive.

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