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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Compositions (1,574)
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NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION

Cat. No. 418/X, variant 3

Youth

State/Variant:
State X of X, variant
Date:
1941-1944
Alternate Title:
Jeunesse (Youth); Le Liseur (The Reader); Liseur + auditeur (Reader + listener)
Themes:
Architecture, Figures, Objects
Techniques:
Aquatint, Drypoint, Etching
Description:
Soft ground etching, drypoint, and aquatint
Support:
Smooth, wove Japanese paper
Dimensions:
plate: 5 x 7 3/8" (12.7 x 18.7 cm); sheet: 8 x 10 3/8" (20.3 x 26.4 cm)
Signature:
"Louise Bourgeois 1944" lower right margin, pencil.
Inscription:
"I am looking at you and you do not see me. / To Paul affectionatly. [sic]" lower middle margin, pencil, artist's hand.

The alternate titles are derived from the artist's inscriptions on known impressions of this composition. The alternate title, "Le Liseur," derives from an inscription on an impression of state VI that is not in MoMA's Collection and is not included in the Evolving Composition Diagram below.
Publisher:
unpublished
Printer:
The artist
Edition:
6 known variant impressions of state X
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Not issued as a published edition at any state.

Although there are 18 known impressions of the various states of "Youth," 3 have the following impression numbers: 5/7, 5/7, and 1/10.

In 1990, the plate for state X of this composition was printed by Piero Crommelynck, Paris, to consider for inclusion in a portfolio of prints by Bourgeois from the 1940s to be reissued under the title, "Quarantania." That portfolio of nine plates was published by Galerie Lelong, Paris, later in 1990, but did not include "Youth" since its plate was too corroded. An example of a reprint is seen in the Evolving Composition Diagram below. The 6th known impression of state X is also a reprint.
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from state IX, in drypoint: rectilinear shape added to right of left figure; rectangular forms at lower right added; shading in crosses increased; hair of right figure thickened and lengthened.
Artist’s Remarks:
Though Bourgeois most often depicted daily activities during the 1940s, she occasionally introduced people from her earlier life. Here, Bourgeois said, are her father and her brother. "These are people I like... This is a family that is locked together, but totally isolated. They try to communicate, but they get nowhere." About the female figure she said: "She is desperate here because she listens, but perceives that she's not hearing. There is a difference between listening and hearing. It is the same today: not to hear and not to be heard. I am so preoccupied that I cannot hear, in spite of an enormous effort." About the female figure in the print, she added: "Maybe she is withdrawn because she doesn't have a child; she must be preoccupied with that." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 56.)
Curatorial Remarks:
Although aquatint is usually undertaken in print workshops with specialized equipment, Bourgeois used the technique at home. A loose sheet written by her in the 1940s includes notes on the steps and materials needed for making aquatints. (The Easton Foundation: LB-1833)

Without the benefit of being able to examine this impression in person, MoMA's Conservation Department believes that the white areas in the center left and center composition are caused by an inking flaw that prevented the aquatint grain from holding ink.

Although this impression is dated "1944" by Bourgeois, it is not known exactly when it was made. The date span of 1941-1944 has been given to all known impressions of "Youth."

Paul Gardner is an American art critic and writer. He was a friend of Bourgeois and her husband, art historian Robert Goldwater. In 1994, Gardner published "Louise Bourgeois" a Universe Series on Women Artists book. Bourgeois was also featured in Gardner's 1996 documentary "Art City: Making It in Manhattan." The inscription to Paul was added later, as he and Bourgeois did not become friends until a later point in the artist's life.

Additional known drawings relate to this composition but were not available for reproduction. They can be viewed on microfilm at the Archives of American Art, reel 90, frames 5 and 11.

Youth
1941-1944; reprinted 1990

Source
1941

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1941
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Ink on tracing paper
1941

Source
1943

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1943
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Pencil, colored pencil, ink, and crayon on paper
1943

States

Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State I of X
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State II of X
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State III of X
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State IV of X
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State V of X
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State VI of X
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State VII of X
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State VIII of X, variant
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State VIII of X, variant
1941-1944
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION State IX of X
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State X of X, variant
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
State X of X, variant
1941-1944
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION State X of X, variant
1941-1944
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION State X of X, variant
1941-1944
Louise Bourgeois. Youth. 1941-1944, reprinted 1990
State X of X, variant
1941-1944, reprinted 1990