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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 423.2

Man Reading

State/Variant:
Version 2 of 2, only state
Date:
1940-1944
Alternate Title:
The Letter; 63 Park
Themes:
Architecture, Figures, Objects
Techniques:
Lithography
Description:
Lithograph
Support:
Smooth, wove Rives paper
Dimensions:
composition: 9 1/16 x 12 5/16" (23 x 31.2 cm); sheet: 11 5/8 x 16 1/16" (29.5 x 40.8 cm)
Signature:
Not signed
Inscription:
The alternate title "The Letter" derives from an inscription on other known impressions of this composition. The alternate title, "63 Park Avenue," derives from an inscription on an impression of version 2, only state, not in MoMA's Collection and not included in the Evolving Composition Diagram below.
Publisher:
The artist
Printer:
The Art Students League of New York
Edition:
6
Impression:
Not numbered
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from version 1, in lithography: image transferred to new matrix; hatch marks added to tabletop; lamp altered to vase with flowers; picture added to wall in upper center composition; right composition further articulated; hatch marks added to figure; abstract form added to window in upper center composition; floor patterning atlered.
Background:
American painter and printmaker, Will Barnet (1911-2012) was the master printer at The Art Students League and printed Bourgeois's lithographs.
Artist’s Remarks:
In referring to her early prints of people and interiors, Bourgeois said: “I love portraits. I never used a camera. This was my way of recording my life.” In nearly a dozen drawings of the early 1940s, and also in paintings and in prints, Bourgeois showed a man leaning over a table. She identified him as her husband and recalled that his work involved constant reading and writing. "That was the way my life was then; I was waiting for a letter or I was watching Robert write or read."

When Bourgeois arrived in New York City in October 1938, she moved into her husband Robert Goldwater's apartment at 63 Park Avenue. She lived there until September 1939, and then moved to 333 East 41st Street, which served as the couple's home and the artist's studio. Years later, she remembered the layout of the apartment at 63 Park Avenue, with the table set up by a window. Bourgeois also recognized a special lamp they owned then, "by a designer of the Bauhaus period." In a later version of the print, the lamp changes to a vase of flowers and an empty chair is added, facing the man. Bourgeois said: "Someone is waiting." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 48.)
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 10.2
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
124.1990

Man Reading
1940-1944

Source
1940

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1940
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Ink, pencil, charcoal, and sanguine on tracing paper mounted on rice paper
1940

First Version

Louise Bourgeois. Man Reading. 1940-1944
Version 1 of 2, state I of II
1940-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Man Reading. 1940-1944
Version 1 of 2, state II of II
1940-1944

Second Version

Published Louise Bourgeois. Man Reading. 1940-1944
Version 2 of 2, only state
1940-1944