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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 674/I

Les Mollusques

State/Variant:
State I of III
Date:
c. 1948
Alternate Title:
Shell Fish
Descriptive Title:
English translation: "Mollusks"
Themes:
Abstraction, Animals & Insects, Nature
Techniques:
Etching
Description:
Soft ground etching, with selective wiping, and black ink and pencil additions
Support:
Smooth, wove paper
Dimensions:
plate: 6 15/16 x 5 3/8" (17.6 x 13.6 cm); sheet: 9 7/8 x 6 5/8" (25 x 16.8 cm)
Signature:
"Louise Bourgeois" lower right margin, pencil.
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unpublished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:
Bourgeois spoke here of "fecundity, germination, and transformation." She recalled "tadpoles that wiggle in the water and then become toads." She mentioned "pods, and the peas that cluster inside them." She was reminded of some of her tall wood sculptures of the late 1940s with carved-out centers, which sometimes hold round, wood, pealike forms. She also noticed that "although the forms here are separate from each other, they make attempts at getting closer... at making points of contact." (Quote cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 128.)
Curatorial Remarks:
In Wye and Smith, "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois," 1994, p. 128, engraving was included in the techniques for state I. Engraving is not cited here because no evidence of engraving could be found in later cataloguing of state I.

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.
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 58
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
154.1990.1

Les Mollusques
c. 1948

States

Louise Bourgeois. Les Mollusques. c. 1948
State I of III
c. 1948
Louise Bourgeois. Les Mollusques. c. 1948
State II of III
c. 1948
Louise Bourgeois. Les Mollusques. c. 1948
State III of III
c. 1948