Louise Nevelson emerged in the art world amidst the dominance of the Abstract Expressionist movement. In her most iconic works, she utilized wooden objects that she gathered from urban debris piles to create her monumental installations - a process clearly influenced by the precedent of Marcel Duchamp's found object sculptures and "readymades."
Major museums began purchasing Nevelson’s wall sculptures in the late 1950s, and she was included in the landmark “Sixteen Americans” exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1959. In the following decades she earned commissions for large-scale sculptures from institutions such as Princeton University (Atmosphere and Environment X, 1969), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Transparent Horizon, 1975), and the Philadelphia Federal Courthouse (Bicentennial Dawn, 1976). In 1967 the first major retrospective of her work was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. During the 1970s and ’80s Nevelson expanded the variety of materials used in her sculptures, incorporating objects made of aluminum, Plexiglas, and Lucite.