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Sold at Auction: Nancy Graves

Alias:Nancy GravesNancy Stevenson GravesNancy Stevenson
SculptorPrinterObject Artist


Nancy Graves (December 23, 1939 – October 21, 1995, in Massachusetts) was an American sculptor, painter, printmaker, and sometime-filmmaker known for her focus on natural phenomena like camels or maps of the Moon. 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), the Des Moines Art Center, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the Museum of Fine Arts (St. Petersburg, FL). When Graves was just 29, she was given a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. At the time she was the youngest artist, and fifth woman to achieve this honor.

Graves was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Her interest in art, nature, and anthropology was fostered by her father, an accountant at the Berkshire Museum. After graduating from Vassar College in English Literature, Graves attended Yale University, where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees. Fellow Yale Art and Architecture alumni of the 1960s include the painters, photographers, and sculptors Brice Marden, Richard Serra, Chuck Close, Janet Fish, Gary Hudson, Rackstraw Downes, and Sylvia and Robert Mangold.

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 Morocco, Germany, Canada, India, Nepal, Kashmir, Egypt, Peru, China, Australia. She was married to Richard Serra from 1965 to 1970.

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