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Bourgeois Louise

see also collection: Louise Bourgeois


Bourgeois Louise (1911— ). French-born U.S. sculptor. She began her career as a painter and engraver. She turned to imaginative and highly individual carved sculpture in the late 1940s making abstract elongated forms and clustered groups of abstract shapes painted black and white. In the 1960s she turned to plaster for bronze (e.g. Labyrinthine Tower, 1963) creating anthropomorphic forms and inside-out shapes which evoke the human body, and which were subsequently worked in marble.

see also collection: Louise Bourgeois


Louise Bourgeois

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Louise Bourgeois  (born in Paris, December 25, 1911) is an artist and sculptor. Her parents repaired tapestries. At 12, she started helping them draw the missing segments of the tapestries. At 15 she studied mathematics at the Sorbonne. Her studies of geometry contributed to her early cubist drawings. Still searching, she began painting, studying at the École du Louvre and then the École des Beaux-Arts, and worked as an assistant to Fernand Léger. In 1938 she moved with her American husband, Robert Goldwater, to New York City to continue her studies at the Art Students League of New York, feeling that she would not have stayed an artist had she continued to live in Paris.

She lives and works in New York City.

She is best known for her 'Cells', 'Spiders' and various drawings, books and sculptures. Her works are sometimes abstract and she speaks of them in symbolic terms with the main focus being "relationships" - considering an entity in relation to its surroundings. Louise Bourgeois finds inspiration for her works from her childhood: her adulterous father, who had an affair with her governess (who resided in the home), and her mother, who refused to acknowledge it. She claims that she has been the "striking-image" of her father since birth. Bourgeois conveys feelings of anger, betrayal and jealousy, but with playfulness. In her sculpture, she has worked in many different mediums, including rubber, wood, stone, metal, and appropriately for someone who came from a family of tapestry makers, fabric. Some of her pieces consisted of erotic and sexual images, with a motif of "cumuls" (she named the round figures such because they reminded her of cumulus clouds). Her most famous works are possibly the spider structures, titled Maman, from the last dozen years. Maman now stands outside Tate Modern in London. A similar sculpture was featured at an art exhibition in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Her earliest exhibition, in 1947, consisted of tunnel sculptures and wooden figures, including The Winged Figure (1948). Despite early success in that show, with one of the works being purchased for the Museum of Modern Art, Bourgeois was subsequently ignored by the art market during the fifties and sixties. It was in the seventies, after the deaths of her husband and father, that she became a successful artist.

In 1993 she represented the United States at the Venice Biennale. In 1999 she participated in the Melbourne International Biennial 1999. Also in 1999, Bourgeois was the first artist commissioned to fill the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern.






Maman, a huge spider by Louise Bourgeois outside the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain


"Spiders", Rockefeller Center


The Welcoming Hands


The Welcoming Hands


The Welcoming Hands


The Welcoming Hands


Quarantania I




Blind Man's Buff


Recent works


Temper Tantrum


Mortise, 1950


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