Art of the 20th Century

 



Art Styles in 20th century Art Map



 


 


Louise Bourgeois




see also:
Bourgeois Louise


 

 Louise Bourgeois

b. 1911, Paris

Louise Bourgeois was born on December 25, 1911, in Paris. As a teenager, Bourgeois assisted her parents in their tapestry-restoration business, making drawings that indicated to the weavers the repairs to be made. In 1932, she entered the Sorbonne to study mathematics, but abandoned that discipline for art. In the mid- to late 1930s, she studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Académie de la Grande-Chaumière, École du Louvre, Atelier Fernand Léger, and other Parisian schools. In 1938, Bourgeois married an American, the art historian Robert Goldwater, and moved to New York. There, she studied for two years at the Art Students League and was soon participating in print exhibitions.

After moving to a new apartment in 1941, Bourgeois began to make large wood sculptures on the roof of her building. In 1945, her first solo show, comprised of twelve paintings, was held at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in New York and her work was first included in the Whitney Annual (later the Whitney Biennial). In the mid- to late 1940s, she worked at Stanley William Hayter's printshop, Atelier 17, where she met Le Corbusier, Joan Miró, and other Europeans exiled by World War II. In 1949, she exhibited works from her Personage series in the first show of her sculpture, at Peridot Gallery in New York.

In 1951, Bourgeois became an American citizen. Continuing her mode of abstracted figuration instilled with psychological and symbolic content, she remained stylistically distinct from New York School developments. She did, however, join American Abstract Artists in 1954. In the 1960s, she taught in public schools and at Brooklyn College and Pratt Institute in New York. She would continue to teach at colleges and universities during the following decade. In the late 1960s, Bourgeois's imagery became more explicitly sexual as she explored the relationship between men and women and the emotional impact of her troubled childhood (her father had had a ten-year affair with her governess). From 1967 until 1972, she made trips to Pietrasanta, Italy, to work in marble.

With the rise of feminism and the art world's new pluralism, her work found a wider audience. In the 1970s, she began to do Performance pieces—among them A Banquet/A Fashion Show of Body Parts (1978), in which she wrapped art historians and students in white drapery with sewn-in anatomical forms—and expanded the scale of her three-dimensional work to large environments.

The first retrospective of Bourgeois's work was organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1982–83), and her first European retrospective was assembled by the Frankfurter Kunstverein (1989). Bourgeois was selected to be the American representative to the 1993 Venice Biennale. Her collected writings were published in 1998. In 2000, three thirty-foot-high towers by Bourgeois, commissioned by the Tate Modern in London—I Do, I Undo, and I Redo—were featured in that museum's inaugural exhibition. Many of her large-scale works have been exhibited as public art, including three spider sculptures installed at Rockefeller Center in New York in 2001 under the aegis of the Public Art Fund.

Bourgeois's achievements have been recognized with, among other honors, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1973), membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1981), a grand prize in sculpture from the French Ministry of Culture (1991), and the National Medal of Arts (1997). Bourgeois lives and works in Manhattan.




 
 

 

 

Seven in a Bed
2001


 

Seven in a Bed
2001


 

Spiral Woman
2003


 

Femme Maison
2001


 

Femme Couteau
2002


 

Arched Figure
1999


 

Arched Figure
1999


 

Untitled
1996


 

Untitled
 2002


 

The Destruction of the Father
1974


 

Blind Man's Buff
1984


 

Spider


 

Spider



 

Spider I
1995



 

Spider


 

Untitled


 

The Reticent Child (detail)
2003


 

Woven Child


 

Maman
1999


 

Maman
1999


 

Maman
1999


 

Swaddling

1997



 

Exhibition Image

2002



 

Couple

2004



 

Couple (detail)

2004



 

Femme


 

Femme


 

Femme


 

Femme


 

The Welcoming Hands

1996



 

Avenza
1968



 

Janus Fleuri

1968



 

No Exit

1989


 

The Blind Leading the Blind

1947-1949



 

Cleavage

1991



 

Cel VIII

1998



 

Two Figures


 

Avenza Revisited II

1968-1969



 

Cell XVII (Portrait)
2000



 

Choker
1948


 

The Ladders


 

The Quartered One

1964-1965



 

The Suicide

1998



 

The Rectory
2002



 

The Institute

2002



 

Hysterical

2001



 

Couple

2002



 

Defiance
1991


 

Femme Volage
1951


 

The Reticent Child (set of three prints)

2004



 

The Reticent Child (set of three prints)

2004


 

T
he Reticent Child (set of three prints)
2004


 

Medical Print

2001



 

Couples

2001
 

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