Nancy Graves

Nancy Graves
Nancy Graves
Born December 23, 1939(1939-12-23)
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died October 21, 1995(1995-10-21) (aged 55)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Field Sculptor, Painter, Printmaker
Training Vassar College, Yale University

Nancy Graves (December 23, 1939 – October 21, 1995) was an American sculptor, painter, printmaker, and sometime-filmmaker known for her focus on natural phenomena like camels or maps of the moon. According to, her works are included in many public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). She was the first woman to receive a solo retrospective at the Whitney Museum.[1]


Early life and studies

Graves was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Her interest in art, nature, and anthropology was fostered by her father, an accountant at a local museum. After graduating from Vassar College in English Literature, Graves attended Yale University, where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees. After her graduation in 1964, she received a Fulbright Scholarship and studied painting in Paris. Continuing her international travels, she then moved on to Florence. During the rest of her life, she would also travel to New York, Morocco, Germany, and Canada.


Graves's most famous sculpture, Camels, was first displayed in the Whitney Museum of American Art. The sculpture features three separate camels, each made of many materials, among them burlap, wax, figerglass, and animal skin. Each camel is also painted with acrylics and oil colors to appear realistic. The camels are now stored in the National Gallery of Canada, and two later "siblings" reside in the Neue Galerie der Stadt Aachen in Germany.

Graves also created a distinctive body of aerial landscapes, mostly based on maps of the moon and similar sources. Below is a link to an example (VI Maskeyne Da Region of the Moon). Author Margret Dreikausen (1985) writes extensively of Graves's aerial works as part of a broader discussion of the aerial view and its importance in modern and contemporary art.

Some of Graves's other works include:

  • Goulimine (film, 1970)
  • Izy Boukir (film, 1971)
  • VI Maskeyne Da Region of the Moon (lithograph, 1972)[2]
  • Fragment (painting, 1977)[3]
  • Wheelabout (sculpture, 1985)[4]
  • Hindsight (sculpture, 1986)[5]
  • Immovable Iconography (sculpture, 1990)[6]
  • Footscray (oil on canvas, paint, and sulpture)
  • Metaphore & Melanomy, (cast bronze, 1995)[7]


  • Skowhegan Medal for Drawing/Graphics (1980)
  • New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award (1986)
  • Honorary Degree, Skidmore College (1989)


Nancy Graves made her last works in April 1995 at the Walla Walla Foundry with Saff Tech Arts in Washington state.[7] In May, less than a month later, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died the following October, aged 55.[8]

See also

  • Aerial landscape


  1. ^ Nancy Graves: Biography and Much More from
  2. ^ VI Maskeyne Da Region of the Moon, Memorial Art Gallery,
  3. ^ Fragment painting, Memorial Art Gallery,
  4. ^ Wheelabout sculpture,, Nancy Graves.
  5. ^ Hindsight sculpture, Walker Art Center.
  6. ^ Immovable Iconography sculpture, Nancy Graves, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
  7. ^ a b Walla Walla Foundry, Nancy Graves.
  8. ^ Biography at the Nancy Graves Foundation

Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nancy Graves — (* 23. Dezember 1940 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; † 21. Oktober 1995 in New York), war eine US amerikanische Bildhauerin, Malerin und Filmemacherin, die durch ihre Beschäftigung mit Naturphänomenen wie Kamelen oder Mondkarten bekannt wurde. Sie… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nancy Graves — (Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 23 de diciembre de 1939 – 21 de octubre de 1995) fue una escultora, pintora, grabadora y a veces cineasta estadounidense, conocida por su atención a los fenómenos naturales como camellos o mapas de la Luna. Según… …   Wikipedia Español

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