Maria Nevelson

My memories of Arnold are around two meetings.

For the first one, I visited Arnold to tape his oral history. He had photographed my Grandmother, Louise Nevelson, several times. In a familial way, he told me about her taking classes from Chaim Gross and subsequently turned on to sculpture; and how he photographed LN at the Whitney in 1980 the day she learned her brother died. With her insistence, they continued the photo session even though she was visibly upset. I had never seen my grandmother cry, always strong and composed. Arnold seemed to know I needed to learn more about my grandmother, and in retrospect it was propelled by a mid-life turbulence. He graciously offered hours of his time that afternoon. His kindness still brings tears to my eyes. As the afternoon began to darken, he invited me to dinner with Augusta to celebrate his 82nd birthday. It was March 3, 2000 and I felt I had received the birthday present.

The second occasion was for my kick-off fundraiser on November 5, 2005 on behalf of the Louise Nevelson Foundation. It was hosted by the fashion designer Anna Sui at her shop in Soho. Arnold was my "surprise" guest and on a cold, blustery night in the middle of rush hour he appeared. He spoke about my Grandmother and relayed stories only he could tell. His support was so encouraging.

We had lunch soon after and bantered about a photo shoot with me as model, perhaps in my Philadelphia studio. I was shy but honored and flattered he'd travel my way. His birthday came again and went. We emailed greetings and good tidings and busy schedules. He charmingly wrote, "February has turned out to be a hysterically busy period." And then he was gone.

BIG HUGS Arnold wherever you are!

Maria Nevelson

Article Type: