Louise Bourgeois

Nationality : French

Birth Year : 1911

Death Year : 2010

Place of Birth : Paris, France

Place of Death : Manhattan, New York City


Occupation: Sculpture, Painting, Printmaking
Movement: Confessional Art
Education: Sorbonne, Paris; Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris;École du Louvre, Paris; École des Beaux-Arts, Paris; Arts Students League, New York
Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist. She became famous for her Surrealist sculptures. However, she preferred to describe her art as existentialist, and is considered the inventor of confessional art. 
Early Life
Louise Bourgeois was born in December, 1911, in Paris. When she was quite young, her parents, Louis and Josephine Bourgeois, set up a tapestry-restoration workshop on the ground floor of their home. She helped by repairing the missing elements of the tapestries. She was deeply troubled by conflicts at home — her mother, whom she cared for deeply, was unwell and her father was a domineering presence at home. Memories of childhood experiences, including her father’s affair with the children’s governess had a lasting impact on her. She channeled the pain of this time towards creating her artworks through the rest of her life.  
Studying mathematics and geometry to begin with, Bourgeois joined the Sorbonne and was there from 1930 to 1932. She then changed to studying art at the Académie de la Grande Chaumièrefrom 1937 to 1938, then at the École du Louvre, followed by the École des Beaux-Arts. In her own words, she enjoyed the stability of the discipline and found peace in the fact that nobody could change the rules of mathematics. In 1932, following the death of her mother, she switched to studying art. She attended a series of art courses in different schools and in 1938, was taught by Fernand Léger, who advised her to focus on sculpture rather than painting. The same year, she opened her own business — a print shop right next to her parents’ business. She married the same year, and her husband was the American art historian Robert Goldwater. They went to live in New York, returning briefly to France to adopt their first child, Michel. 
New York
In her early years, Bourgeois concentrated on painting and printmaking first, turning to sculpture later in the 1940s. In New York, she studied at the Arts Students League and with the Abstract Expressionist Vaclav Vytlacil. Despite her solo shows in New York in the mid-1940s, her paintings and sculpture received little attention from the art world. From the 1950s to the early 1960s, her output was low and inconsistent. In these years, Bourgeois was drawn to psychoanalysis. She also continued to present her work at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. In a 1964 solo exhibition, she presented plaster sculptures that were quite different from her earlier totemic wood pieces. While she continued to experiment with different materials, the themes in her work were consistent — anger, betrayal, pain, and loneliness. Pieces like “Fillette” (1968) and “Destruction of the Father” (1974) were created in this period. 
After her husband’s demise, Bourgeois took up teaching at various places, like the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; the Cooper Union, Manhattan; Brooklyn College, and the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture in 1973. The retrospective in Museum of Modern Art in 1982 was instrumental in making her famous finally, at the ripe age of 70. Most of her well-known works such as, “Cell (Eyes and Mirrors),” “Nature Study,” and “Maman” were created after this. She gained favorable exposure in Europe, when the Kunstverein in Frankfurt showed a retrospective of her work in 1989. Another achievement was her representing the US at the Venice Biennale in 1993. Her most famous sculpture, an enormous, 30-feet-high spider, “Maman,” was shown at the Tate Modern Gallery in London in 2000. This is a huge spider made of bronze, marble, and stainless steel. This was a tribute to her mother Josephine. The Centre Pompidou in Paris held another retrospective in 2008.
Later Life, Death, and Legacy
Bourgeois won many awards. The French government appointed her an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1983. In 1991, the French Grand Prix National de Sculpture award followed, with the American National Medal of Arts under her belt in 1997. A singular triumph was the first lifetime achievement award given to her by the International Sculpture Center in Washington. The Japanese Art Association honored her with the Praemium Imperiale in 1999. 
In the last year of her life, Bourgeois advocated for LGBT equality, creating a piece titled, “I Do,” (2010) for the nonprofit Freedom to Marry. All through her life, she continued to make drawings on paper, and also returned to printmaking. She considered art her tool for coping, a “guarantee of sanity.”  
Bourgeois died in New York in 2010 at the ripe old age of 98. 
She had a great impact on the art scene in the 20th century, with her varied output — from stitched fabrics to paintings to sculptures, and of course, prints. Her prints and illustrated books are in the digital form in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Tate Gallery, London
Museum of Modern Art,New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Centre Pompidou, Paris
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.

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 Untitled by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois


Sotheby's, London

October 16, 2015

$52,107  USD

 Hit or Miss by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

Hit or Miss

Sotheby's, London

October 16, 2015

$27,018  USD

 Untitled by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois


Sotheby's, London

October 16, 2015

$67,546  USD

 Mother and Child by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

Mother and Child

Sotheby's, London

October 15, 2015

$1,863,894  USD

 Crochet II (from Crochet Series) by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

Crochet II (from Crochet Series)

Los Angeles Modern Auctions, Van Nuys

October 11, 2015

$10,000  USD

 Quarantania by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois


Seoul Auction, Seoul

October 5, 2015

$4,644,000  USD

 The Cross-Eyed Woman III by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

The Cross-Eyed Woman III

Christie's, New York

September 30, 2015

$20,000  USD

 Cunt I by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

Cunt I

Sotheby's, New York

September 29, 2015

$30,000  USD

 He Disappeared into Complete Silence: - (See Wye 29 - 38) by Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

He Disappeared into Complete Silence: - (See Wye 2

Sotheby's, London

September 29, 2015

$85,230  USD


Sotheby’s Puts Spotlight on Nudes in London Selling Exhibition

By Mark Beech | November 18, 2015

Sotheby’s has chosen the theme of the naked human body for a new exhibition.It is an obvious leitmotif for a selling show of name artists, when so many have worked with nude figurature throughout...

Softening Warhol Market Vexes Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Sale

By Judd Tully | November 11, 2015

Spurred on by a number of high-performing entries, but held back by a softening Warhol market, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale on Tuesday tallied $331,809,000 for the 53...

Julia Peyton-Jones to Step Down From Serpentine in London

By Mark Beech | October 30, 2015

Julia Peyton-Jones is to step down next summer after 25 years leading the Serpentine in London.Peyton-Jones, 63, is director and co-director of exhibitions and programs, joined in 2006 by Hans...

Art of Jewelry: Suzanne Syz's Pop Art Inpirations

By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop | October 29, 2015

There is a strong dose of Pop Art humor mixed with whimsical childhood memories in Suzanne Syz’s jewelry designs: multi-colored enameled earrings in the shape of small Life Savers candies, a...

Dealer’s Notebook: Q&A with Gallerist Xavier Hufkens

By Nicholas Forrest | October 19, 2015

The eponymous gallery of Brussels-based art dealer Xavier Hufkens is one of Europe’s leading galleries for contemporary art. Hufkens opened his first gallery in in an un-refurbished warehouse in...

Must-See Works at Frieze London 2015

By Martin Gayford | October 16, 2015

LONDON — I don’t know what the actual acreage of Frieze is, but — even with map in hand — it’s not hard to get disorientated. One finds oneself slipping into a time warp, wandering for hours and...

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El arte contraataca en la Fundació Gaspar

By Marcos Fernández | November 24, 2015

"The Nude" at Sotheby's S2 London: Slideshow

By Mark Beech | November 16, 2015

Suzanne Syz's Whimsical Jewelry

By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop | October 29, 2015

Fotografien von Louise Bourgeois, 1995-2006

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | October 19, 2015

Louise Bourgeois at Xavier Hufkens in Brussels

By Nicholas Forrest | October 19, 2015

Louise Bourgeois y Jean-François Jaussaud

By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop | October 15, 2015

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