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Louise Bourgeois, 25 Dec 1911 - 31 May 2010  Search this
Louise Bourgeois, 25 Dec 1911 - 31 May 2010  Search this
Drypoint and soft ground etching on paper
Sheet (Verified): 68.5 x 48.9cm (26 15/16 x 19 1/4")
Mount: 73.1 × 52.9 cm (28 3/4 × 20 13/16")
Image: 40 × 27 cm (15 3/4 × 10 5/8")
Exhibition Label:
Haunted by painful childhood memories of her father’s serial infidelities and her mother’s long struggle with a fatal illness, Louise Bourgeois used art as a means of working through personal trauma while exploring universal themes, such as motherhood, female identity, the body, and sexuality. She left Paris in 1938 and settled in New York City, where she made her earliest sculptures from discarded scraps of wood. Bourgeois spent the next several decades on the periphery of the art world, finally receiving her first retrospective in 1982 at the age of seventy-one.
Among her best-known works are the monumental spider sculptures she created in the 1990s as “odes” to her mother, whom she likened to a spider in being strong, clever, protective, and creative. This etching revisits a composition she first developed in the 1940s, representing the inescapably entwined relationship of mother, father, and child, who are enclosed within an “eternal circle.”
Atormentada por dolorosos recuerdos infantiles de la continua infidelidad marital de su padre y la larga lucha de su madre contra una enfermedad mortal, Louise Bourgeois utilizó su arte para superar el trauma personal a la vez que exploró temas universales como la maternidad, la identidad femenina, el cuerpo y la sexualidad. Bourgeois abandonó París en 1938 y se radicó en Nueva York, donde creó sus primeras esculturas con trozos de madera desechados. Pasó las décadas siguientes en la periferia del mundo del arte y finalmente tuvo su primera retrospectiva en 1982, a la edad de 71 años.
Entre sus obras más conocidas están las monumentales esculturas de arañas que creó en los años noventa como “odas” a su madre, a quien comparaba con una araña por ser fuerte, inteligente, protectora y creativa. Este grabado revisita una obra que desarrolló en la década de 1940, en la que representa los ineludibles vínculos entre madres, padres e hijos, abarcados por un “círculo eterno”.
Self-portrait  Search this
Louise Bourgeois: Female  Search this
Louise Bourgeois: Visual Arts\Artist\Sculptor  Search this
Louise Bourgeois: Visual Arts\Artist\Printmaker  Search this
Louise Bourgeois: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter  Search this
Louise Bourgeois: Visual Arts\Art Instructor  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Ruth Bowman and Harry Kahn Twentieth-Century American Self-Portrait Collection
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
© The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery