December 20 1924 - present
Photograph of Beverly Pepper, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
Drawings and prints, Painting, Sculpture
Bronze Worker, Commercial Artist, Environmental Artist, Ironsmith, Metalworker, Painter, Printmaker, Sculptor, Welder, Woodworker
Beverly Pepper creates monumental box-like sculptures out of materials such as bronze, iron, and welded steel. She has split her time between New York and the town of Todi in Italy for the past fifty years.
Born Beverly Stoll in 1924, Pepper entered the Pratt Institute at the age of sixteen to study advertising, photography, and industrial design. After her graduation, she embarked on a career as a commercial art director and continued her education through The Art Students League and night classes at Brooklyn College, where she was introduced to the work of Bauhaus artists Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray in a course on art theory taught by Gyorgy Kepes.
In 1949, Pepper left New York to study in Paris with Fernand Léger and André Lhote, and also visited the studio of modernist sculptor Constatin Brancusi. She met and married Curtis Gordon (Bill) Pepper, and returned to the United States after extensive travels in Europe and the Middle East. She lived and painted in Paris and eventually settled in Rome where she was granted a painting fellowship from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 1960, her media changed from painting to sculpture, and she carved in wood, worked with clay, and used metals such as bronze and welded steel. Her sculptures are open and geometric, resembling boxes or mirrors, and Pepper began to exhibit in Italy and the United States at this time.
Pepper’s visits to South East Asia exposed her to Japanese funerary statues that deeply affected her work. During the 1960s, her pieces grew into large outdoor public commissions. Her first large environmental project, Dallas Land Canal and Hillside
(1971 - 1975), associated her with Earth artists such as Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt.
Pepper continues to produce monumental public sculptures for collections in the United States and Europe, and her work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the contemporary collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
Art Director, Traveler
Place(s) of Residence:
Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris, France (1949)
Brooklyn College, New York, NY, USA (ca. 1945)
The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY, USA (ca. 1945)
Pratt Institute, New York, NY, USA (1939-1941)
Related Visual Artists:
student of Fernand Léger
student of André Lhote
student of Gyorgy Kepes
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts Award, Women's Causus for Art, New York, NY, USA (1994)
Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, USA (1979, 1975)
Gold Medal and Sculpture Purchase Award, Mostra Internazionale, Fiorino, Italy (1966)
L'Italia di Beverly Pepper, Galleria dello Zodiaco, Rome, Italy (1952)
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997
Beverly Pepper: Sculpture in Place, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA (1986-1987)