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Louise Bourgeois

Louise Joséphine Bourgeois

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Louise Joséphine Bourgeois (French: [lwiz buʁʒwa] ( listen); 25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010) was a French-American artist. Although she is best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art, Bourgeois was also a prolific painter and printmaker. She explored a variety of themes over the course of her long career including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the subconscious. These themes connect to events from her childhood which she considered to be a therapeutic process. Although Bourgeois exhibited with the Abstract Expressionists and her work has much in common with Surrealism and Feminist art, she was not formally affiliated with a particular artistic movement.

Bourgeois was born on 25 December 1911 in Paris, France. She was named after her father who wanted a boy. She was the second child of three born to parents Joséphine Fauriaux and Louis Bourgeois. She had an older sister and a younger brother. Her parents owned a gallery that dealt primarily in antique tapestries. A few years after her birth, her family moved out of Paris and set up a workshop for tapestry restoration below their apartment in Choisy-le-Roi, for which Bourgeois filled in the designs where they had become worn. The lower part of the tapestries were always damaged which was usually the characters’ feet and animals’ paws. Many of Bourgeois’s works have extremely fragile and frail feet which could be a result of the former.

By 1924 her father, a tyrannical philanderer, was indulging in an extended affair with her English teacher and nanny. According to Bourgeois, her mother, Josephine, “an intelligent, patient and enduring, if not calculating, person,” was aware of her husband's infidelity, but found it easier to turn a blind eye. Bourgeois, an alert little girl, hoarded her memories in her diaries. As a result, she wished to execute manipulation in a similar manner; the medium became sculpture. Her father’s affair became the weapon in this revenge. Sculpture enables one to overcome the problem by displacing it; which finally allows the freedom to do what good manners forbade the child to do.

As a child, Bourgeois did not meet her father's expectations due to her lack of ability. Eventually, he came to adore her for her talent and spirit, but she continued to hate him for his explosive temper, domination of the household, and for teasing her in front of others.

In 1930, Bourgeois entered the Sorbonne to study mathematics and geometry, subjects that she valued for their stability, saying "I got peace of mind, only through the study of rules nobody could change."

Her mother died in 1932, while Bourgeois was studying mathematics. Her mother's death inspired her to abandon mathematics and to begin studying art. Her father thought modern artists were wastrels and refused to support her. She continued to study art by joining classes where translators were needed for English-speaking students, in which those translators were not charged tuition. In one such class Fernand Léger saw her work and told her she was a sculptor, not a painter.

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Artworks of Louise Bourgeois are removed from WikiArt due to a copyright infringement notice.
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  • Be Calme (October 1st - 31st), 2004
  • Ode to the Bievre, 2007
  • Ode to the Bievre, 2007
  • Spider, 2003
  • Sublimation, 2002 www.hauserwirth.com
  • Sublimation, 2002 www.hauserwirth.com
  • The Fragile, 2007
  • The Fragile, 2007
  • The Welcoming Hands, ?
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, 2005
  • Untitled, 2005
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, 1996
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, ?
  • Cell: You Better Grow Up, 1993 balkon.c3.hu
  • Change the Direction of the Music Staff, ?
  • Characters, 1965
  • Children in Tub, 1994
  • Confrontation, 1978
  • Couple, 2004
  • Couple IV, 1997
  • Couples, 2001
  • Dangerous passage, 1997 contemporart.voila.net
  • Defiance, 1991
  • Disembodied Hands, 1990
  • Do you love me?, ?
  • Empty Nest, 1994
  • End of Softness, 1967
  • Eye Benches, ?
  • Eye Benches I, 1997
  • Eye Benches II, 1997
  • Family, 2007
  • Father and Son, 2005
  • Feet, ?
  • Fragile Goddess, 2002
  • Fragile Goddess, 1970
  • Fugue, 2003
  • Germinal, 1967
  • Girl with Hair, 2007
  • Give or Take, 2002
  • Hands, ?
  • Hanging Janus with Jacket, 1968
  • Harmless Woman, 1969
  • I am looking for Mothers, 2007
  • I Do, I Undo and I Redo, ?
  • I just died at birth, 2010 www.hauserwirth.com
  • I lost you, 2010 www.hauserwirth.com
  • Cell XXVI, 2003
  • Cell XXIII (Portrait), 2000 balkon.c3.hu
  • Cell XVIII (Portrait), 2002 balkon.c3.hu
  • Cell XII (Portrait), 2001 balkon.c3.hu
  • Cell VII, 1998 debbyemadian.blogspot.com
  • Cell 3, White Marble Spheres, 1993 www.radford.edu
  • Cell (Glass Spheres and Hands), 1993 www.pbs.org
  • Cell (Eyes and Mirrors), 1993
  • Cell (Choisy), 1993
  • Blue Dress, 1998
  • Birth, 1994
  • Be Calme (October 1st - 31st), 2004
  • Be Calme (October 1st - 31st), 2004
  • Be Calme (October 1st - 31st), ?
  • Avenza Revisited II, 1969
  • Avenza, 1969
  • Arch of Hysteria, 1993
  • Amputee with Peg Leg, 1998
  • Amputee with Crutch, 1998
  • Amputee, 1998
  • Amoeba, 1965
  • A Stretch of Time, 2007
  • A million ways to cum, 2010 www.hauserwirth.com
  • A girl, 1968
  • I wanted to love you more, 2010
  • It doesn't end, 2010
  • Janus, 1968
  • Janus Fleuri, 1968
  • Just hanging, 2010
  • Looking for the mother, 2010
  • Maman, 1999
  • Mamelles, 1991
  • Man, Keys, Phone, Clock, 1994
  • Mother and Child, 1970
  • My hand, 2002
  • No Exit, 1989
  • Number Seventy-Two, ?
  • Ode to the Bievre, 2007
  • Ode to the Bievre, 2007
  • Ode to the Bievre, 2007
  • Ode to the Forgotten, 2004
  • On the occasion of Serpentine Gallery Map Marathon, ?
  • Paddle Woman, 1947
  • Partial Recall, 1979
  • Pink Days and Blue Days, 1997
  • Portrait, 1963
  • Portrait of Robert, 1969
  • Precious Liquid, 1992 contemporart.voila.net
  • Pregnant Woman, 2007
  • Reaching for you, 2010 www.hauserwirth.com
  • Red Room (Child), 1994
  • Scissors, 1994
  • Sculptress, 1994
  • Self-portrait, ?
  • Seven in Bed, 2001
  • Sewing, 1994
  • Sleeping Man, 1994
  • Soft Landscape, 1963
  • Soft Landscape I, 1967
  • Soft Landscape II, 1967
  • Spider, 2003
  • Spider, 1997
  • Spider II,, 1995
  • Spider,, 2003
  • St. Sebastien, 2002
  • Sublimation, 2002 www.hauserwirth.com
  • Sublimation, 2002 www.hauserwirth.com
  • Sublimation, 2002 www.hauserwirth.com
  • Take Me Right Back to the Track Jack, 1946
  • Temper Tantrum, 2000
  • The Ainu Tree, ?
  • The Big Bed with Quilt, 1997
  • The Blind Leading the Blind, 1949
  • The Couple, 2003
  • The Cross-Eyed Woman, 2004
  • The destruction of the father, 1974
  • The fabric works, 2007
  • The fabric works board, ?
  • The Family, 2007
  • The Family (detail), 2007
  • The Fragile, 2007
  • The Fragile, 2007
  • The Fragile, 2007
  • The Good Mother, 2008
  • The Nest, 1994
  • The Olive Branch, 2004
  • The Reticent Child, Figurines and mirror, 2003 contemporart.voila.net
  • The view from the bottom of the well, 1996
  • The Waiting Hours, 2007
  • The Welcoming Hands, ?
  • The Welcoming Hands, ?
  • The Woven Child, 2002
  • The Woven Child, ?
  • Toilette, 1994
  • Topiary, 2005
  • Tree, 1998
  • Tree with Red Crutch, 1998
  • Tree with Shoes, 1998
  • Tree with Woman, 1998
  • Triptych for the red room, ?
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, 2005
  • Untitled, 2005
  • Untitled, 2005
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, 1972
  • Untitled, 1996
  • Untitled, 2002
  • Untitled, 2007
  • Untitled, 1986
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, 1999
  • Untitled, ?
  • Untitled, 1996
  • Untitled, 1995
  • Untitled, 1995
  • Untitled, 1995
  • Untitled, 1995
  • Untitled, 1995
  • Untitled, 1995
  • Untitled, 1995
  • Untitled, 1969
  • Untitled, 1995
  • Untitled, 1991
  • Untitled, 2006
  • View of exhibition installation in the Peridot Gallery 1950, 1950
  • When I Was Young, 2008 artnews.org
  • When my cunt stopped living, 2010
  • Woman, 2007
  • Woman, 1960
  • Woman and Clock, 1994
  • Woman in Bathtub, 1994
  • Woman with Suitcase, 1994
  • Woman-House, 1983
  • Woman-House, 1994
  • Woman-House, 1947
  • Woman-Knife, 2002
  • Yvon lambert, ?
  • Deep inside my heart, 2010 www.hauserwirth.com
  • Too much love, 2010 www.hauserwirth.com