Born in Paris in 1911, Louise Bourgeois was raised by parents who ran a tapestry restoration business. A gifted student, she also helped out in the workshop by drawing missing elements in the scenes depicted on the tapestries. During this time, her father carried on an affair with Sadie Gordon Richmond, the English tutor who lived in the family house. This deeply troubling—and ultimately defining—betrayal remained a vivid memory for Bourgeois for the rest of her life. Later, she would study mathematics before eventually turning to art. She met Robert Goldwater, an American art historian, in Paris and they married and moved to New York in 1938. The couple raised three sons.

Early on, Bourgeois focused on painting and printmaking, turning to sculpture only in the later 1940s. However, by the 1950s and early 1960s, there are gaps in her production as she became immersed in psychoanalysis. Then, in 1964, for an exhibition after a long hiatus, Bourgeois presented strange, organically shaped plaster sculptures that contrasted dramatically with the totemic wood pieces she had exhibited earlier. But alternating between forms, materials, and scale, and veering between figuration and abstraction became a basic part of Bourgeois’s vision, even while she continually probed the same themes: loneliness, jealousy, anger, and fear.

Bourgeois’s idiosyncratic approach found few champions in the years when formal issues dominated art world thinking. But by the 1970s and 1980s, the focus had shifted to the examination of various kinds of imagery and content. In 1982, at 70 years old, Bourgeois finally took center stage with a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art. After that, she was filled with new confidence and forged ahead, creating monumental spiders, eerie room-sized “Cells,” evocative figures often hanging from wires, and a range of fabric works fashioned from her old clothes. All the while she constantly made drawings on paper, day and night, and also returned to printmaking. Art was her tool for coping; it was an exorcism. As she put it, “Art is a guarantee of sanity.” Bourgeois died in New York in 2010, at the age of 98.

Introduction by Deborah Wye, Chief Curator Emerita, Prints and Illustrated Books, from the website Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books, 2017
Introduction
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 unconscious. 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.
Wikidata
Q159409
Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
Introduction
Known primarily for her sculptures in wood, steel, stone, or cast rubber, she also produced prints and works on paper in her long career.
Nationalities
French, American
Gender
Female
Roles
Artist, Engraver, Painter, Sculptor
Name
Louise Bourgeois
Ulan
500057350
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.