With her monumental, rust-colored abstract sculptures that gently slope and curve, Beverly Pepper helped introduce Cor-Ten steel as a medium with desirable aesthetic and weather-resistant qualities. Despite their extraordinary weight, Pepper’s curvilinear steel forms, such as Curved Presence (2012), often appear light and buoyant. After training at the Pratt Institute, Pepper began her career as a social realist painter; she transitioned to sculptur
e somewhat organically, carving her first pieces from trees fallen in her garden in Rome. She was asked to participate in the 1962 “Festival of Two Worlds” in Spoleto, Italy which included works by Alexander Calder and Henry Moore. To prepare for the exhibition, Pepper began working with metal and learned to weld in order to create Il Dono di Icaro (“The Gift of Icarus”) (1962)—an iron and steel sculpture that still stands in the Italian town. Her stainless steel sculptures with mirrored surfaces, such as Torre Pieno nel Vuoto (1968), connect to their environment by reflecting the surrounding landscape. Often installed outdoors, Pepper’s works are in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.