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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 679/II

Champs de Blé

State/Variant:
State II of II
Date:
1949
Descriptive Title:
English translation: "Fields of Wheat"
Themes:
Abstraction, Nature
Techniques:
Engraving
Description:
Engraving
Support:
Smooth, wove paper
Dimensions:
plate: 4 5/16 x 5 15/16" (10.9 x 15.1 cm); sheet: 6 5/8 x 9 15/16" (16 x 25.2 cm)
Signature:
"Louise Bourgeois" lower left margin, pencil.
Inscription:
"ètat 2 / Ke -- [illeg.]" lower right margin, pencil. Verso: "champs de blé / 4 1/2 x 6/23 [circled] / last print of the/ he dispeared [sic] suite / period / 1949" center, pencil, artist's hand.
Publisher:
unpublished
Printer:
The artist at Atelier 17, New York
Edition:
1 known impression of state II
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Not issued as a published edition at any state.
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from state I, in engraving: short vertical lines added over upper two-thirds of composition; crescent shape added at center; two bands of horizontal lines delineated across bottom third of composition.
Artist’s Remarks:
This began as a workshop test plate on which Bourgeois practiced handling the burin. She remembered wanting to learn how to "avoid the burr." She noted that later she turned the markings on the plate into a landscape. On the second state she identified the hammock at the family's house in Easton.

Bourgeois reflected generally about the place of landscape and nature in her life and work: "Nature was one of the ways I communicated with the children... both through the animals and the plants... and through relationships. Nature is a physical reality. Looking at it with the children is a way... an indirect way... a not so personal way... of sharing a loving experience. If we observe life in the garden, we share the same love. It makes you very close and it is also a way to teach them." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 127.)
Curatorial Remarks:
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 57
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
143.1990.2

Champs de Blé
1949

States

Louise Bourgeois. Champs de Blé. 1949
State I of II
1949
Louise Bourgeois. Champs de Blé. 1949
State II of II
1949