Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

Louise Bourgeois. Lacs de Montagne (Mountain Lakes). 1997 34200

Lacs de Montagne (Mountain Lakes), 1997. Engraving, etching, aquatint, and drypoint. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist. © 2017 The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY. 11.2002

Felix Harlan: The print you’re looking at is titled Mountain Lakes. There were two impressions made, one in red and one in blue.

Louise spent a lot of time working on the proofs after they had been brought up to her and they were dry. And that was the way she made decisions. And I think she just really enjoyed working on top of an image and changing it through all the possible variations that she could think of. Sometimes these were the basis of the next printed state and sometimes they just exist alone as a variant. You can see in the print titled Rain on the Mountain Lakes, Bourgeois worked in gouache, charcoal, pencil, and made many many changes.

The colors red and blue were really Louise's preferred colors. She didn't like half measures. If she wanted a red, she wanted a really brilliant and deep red. If she wanted a blue, there were certain blues that she liked, some she didn't like. When she used color she wanted it to be profound and very emphatic.

I think Bourgeois’ working method was very similar to her personality. Whatever she did, she did with emphasis. There was very little indecisiveness, and she generally liked what she did.

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