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Color photographic portrait of Beverly Pepper in her studio

Beverly Pepper in 2012. Photo © Beverly Pepper.

Beverly Pepper, the sculptor of mammoth artworks who refused to be tied to any groups or circles, died on Wednesday in Todi, Italy, at the age of 97.

Long considered one of the most powerful artists of her generation, Pepper shunned typical classification, leaving confused critics to lump her in with the Abstract Expressionists, Kinetic artists, and Land Art pioneers. They even called her a late Constructivist.

Pepper was known for working with the kind of hefty, industrial media—iron, stone, and Cor-Ten steel—usually associated with brawny male sculptors like Richard Serra and David Smith. Yet she retained a sense of buoyancy and grace that belied the heaviness of her chosen craft. 

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