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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 644/I

Le Phare

State/Variant:
State I of III
Date:
1946-1947
Alternate Title:
Structure
Descriptive Title:
English translation: "The Lighthouse"
Themes:
Architecture, Nature
Techniques:
Engraving
Description:
Engraving, with pencil, black ink, and stylus additions
Support:
Smooth, wove paper
Dimensions:
plate: 6 13/16 x 4 15/16" (17.3 x 12.6cm); sheet: 9 13/16 x 6 3/8" (25 x 16.2 cm)
Signature:
Not signed
Inscription:
"le phare" lower left margin, pencil, artist's hand; "ètat I" lower right margin, pencil, artist's hand. Verso: "el faro / le phare / structure / he desapeared [sic] (suite) / n. 16" center, pencil, artist's hand.
Publisher:
unpublished
Printer:
The artist at Atelier 17, New York
Edition:
1 known impression of state I
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Not issued as a published edition at any state.
Artist’s Remarks:
"There is a terrific fear of catastrophe and a desire for protection. The lighthouse is a protection. The searchlight is a kind of exorcism... it conquers chaos... then peace reigns again." The small structure in the background with a "circle of light," is the lighthouse; the structure in the foreground is a "personnage... Without the help of the lighthouse, the personnage will tumble. This is a plea for help against drowning. It is a search for stability." (Quote cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 104.)
Curatorial Remarks:
"Stylus additions" reference the horizontal lines across the lower composition made with a sharp, pointed object, leaving indentations in the sheet.

In the second half of the 1940s, Bourgeois spent time at Atelier 17, the print workshop of Stanley William Hayter. The workshop had transferred operations from Paris to New York during the war years. It is not known precisely which prints she made at the workshop since she also worked at home on a small press. The designation of “the artist at Atelier 17” as printer means that the impression was likely made at the workshop. The designation is based on dates, inscriptions, techniques favored at Atelier 17, and/or stylistic similarities to images in the illustrated book “He Disappeared into Complete Silence,” which the artist repeatedly cited as having been made at Atelier 17. It is also possible that Bourgeois worked on certain plates both at home and at the workshop, or pulled impressions at both places.

Given the inscription on the verso of this impression, it appears that Bourgeois considered this composition for "He Disappeared Into Complete Silents," but did not finally include it.
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 43
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
244.1992.1

Le Phare
1946-1947

States

Louise Bourgeois. Le Phare. 1946-1947
State I of III
1946-1947
Louise Bourgeois. Le Phare. 1946-1947
State II of III
1946-1947
Louise Bourgeois. Le Phare. 1946-1947
State III of III
1946-1947