Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

Louise Bourgeois. Hours of the Day. 2006

No. 11 of 24 from the fabric illustrated book Hours of the Day, 2006. Digital print. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist, 2009. © 2017 The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY. 332.2009.12

Curator, Deborah Wye: The Hours of the Day is an illustrated book from 2006, very late in Bourgeois’ life. This is made with a digital print-making process.

In this book, she's referring to the very traditional hours of the day from medieval times. Hours of the day were meant for people to say a prayer at each different time of the day. But instead of prayers, Bourgeois has put in some of her own writings. She liked going back over the old diaries and revisiting those ideas and those feelings. Louise was 96 at this time, and she must have been thinking of the passage of time and the end of her life.

Although this book was issued in 2006, it's very interesting to find a note in her diary from the 1960s when she refers to hours of the day. And this is what she says, “Distance and patience and benevolence toward the hours of the day — Respect the hours and help them to succeed each other harmoniously — the heavy hours of the afternoon and the busy hours of the evening — the silent hours of the night.”

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