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Cat. No. 790

Untitled, no. 20 of 42 in La Rivière Gentille (set 1), from the series of installation sets (1-3)

La Rivière Gentille (set 1), from the series of installation sets (1-3) (View All)
Descriptive Title:
English translation: "The Sweet River"; "The Gentle River"
Abstraction, Music, Nature
Ink, watercolor, and pencil
Music paper; staves drawn in pencil
sheet: 15 × 38 3/8" (38.1 × 97.5 cm)
"LB / Louise Bourgeois" lower right sheet, pencil.
"Les autos aux tuileries" center comp., pencil, artist's hand.
Osiris, New York
Set 1
Edition Information:
The series of installation sets “La Rivière Gentille” (1-3) is not a traditional edition in that each set is unique. Each set has a different number of sheets and is comprised of different etchings and drawings.

All three sets incorporate plates 1-7 that when printed together form the tall, vertical composition "Look Up!” seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below. Plates 1-7 are numbered according to their position from top to bottom in “Look Up!,” the only composition that uses all seven plates. Of the seven plates, only plates 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 are used in “La Rivière Gentille.” Throughout the series, the unique variants combine two to four plates, which are printed side by side horizontally to appear seamless.

The unique variants of plates 1-7 in “La Rivière Gentille” are in the same Evolving Composition Diagram as “Look Up!” They are organized in rows according to the combination of plates used. The etchings in set 3 only use these plates, while sets 1 and 2 incorporate etchings that also appear in other series and editions.

In set 1, the 16 of 42 panels that include etching are: Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 19, 23, 25, 26, 29, 33, 34, 37, and 41.
Proximity to rivers was of importance to the Bourgeois family's tapestry restoration business. This connection to rivers remained with the artist long after her childhood and inspired a number of projects, including "Point d'Ironie" and "Ode à la Bièvre," seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below.

Benjamin Shiff, the director of the Osiris imprint, collaborated with Bourgeois in a highly experimental phase of printmaking that occupied the last years of her life, from 2005 to 2010. He first established a working relationship with the artist in the 1990s, but the late period is particularly noteworthy for the innovative and complex large-scale projects that evolved at that time. Shiff made use of professional workshops for printing, but he oversaw the creation of the printing plates as Bourgeois worked on them in her home studio. He also provided assistance as she added extensive hand additions and texts, and as she combined individual compositions into multi-panel works and illustrated books.
Installation Remarks:
This sheet is one in a set of 42 sheets that constitutes a single work of art. All of these compositions are to be exhibited together in the indicated sequence, in consultation with the Louise Bourgeois Studio.
Curatorial Remarks:
The paper type and color of the hand additions could not be documented because this work is not in MoMA's Collection and could not be examined in person. The sheet dimensions were provided by the Louise Bourgeois Studio.

No. 20 of 42 in La Rivière Gentille (set 1)


Published NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, no. 20 of 42 in La Rivière Gentille (set 1), from the series of installation sets (1-3). 2007


NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. La Rivière Gentille (set 1), from the series of installation sets (1-3). 2007
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION La Rivière Gentille (set 1), from the...
More About This Work

Louise Bourgeois,

La Rivière Gentille,

Osiris, 2007

The fragments of text inscribed within the series, "La Rivière Gentille," 2007, originated as parts of a longer text written by the artist c. April-May 1959. Those fragments are recorded below by panel. Following the fragments is the original text of the same title, in French and then in English.

Panel 3:
LA BIEVRE Odilon Redon

Panel 4:

Panel 9:
l'eau noire

Panel 15:
La Rivière Gentille

Panel 17:
les lumières du jour

Panel 20:
Les autres aux tuileries

Panel 21:
les voyages de nuit sur la route

Panel 24:
Les tangos de l'apres guerre

Panel 32:
la cave d'eau

Panel 33:
les chaussées de Paris

Panel 34:
Mouillées le soir

Panel 35:
les fleurs à Deauville à Antony au Luxembourg

Panel 40:
Le bruit du Caillou qui tombe

Original Text:
La Rivière Gentille
La Bièvre (Watteau)
Les Deux Bièvres Odilon Redon
La Bièvre et la fausse Bièvre
Les puits et leur eau noire. Le bruit du caillou qui tombe
L’attraction morbide des caves voutées
Le tunnel plein d’eau, la voie du chemin de fer plein d’eau
La Creuse la rivière profonde
Son bruit réverbéré contre la montagne
La marche dans la rivière jusqu’aux genoux
La peur de l’eau et de descendre dans la cave.
La cave pleine d’eau
La Marne à Vitry-le-François effrayante
L’humidité ennemi numéro 1
Les inondations en Sologne
Les chaussées de Paris, mouillées le soir –
Les plages à Trouville, Houlgate, Villers, Cabourg, Honfleur
Les plages du midi sans marée à Cannes
Les voyages de nuit sur la route
Les lumières du jour, l’heure du berger. L’aube depuis le rideau de tulle*
Les lumières de la nuit, le feu dans la grille. Les autos aux Tuileries.
Les fleurs à Deauville, à Antony, au Luxembourg.
Les acacias au bois, les mimosas à Nice, à la Croix des Gardes.
Les tangos de l’après-guerre, les marches militaires, les airs de Chevalier, Mistinguett, Marie Dubas, Mignon Werther, Contes d’Hoffmann, Rip. Faust
Opérettes, Mme Angot, Fifi, Dédé, Corneville.
Les recalls of ecstatic moments are always concerned with physical environment and never with persons.
Le bruit d’un caillou qui tombe dans l’eau noire et lointaine d’un puits.
Les conscienscious memories qui renaissent.

English translation:
The gentle River
The Bièvre (Watteau)
The Deux Bièvres Odilon Redon
The Bièvre and the false Bièvre
The wells and their black water. the sound of a pebble that falls
The morbid attraction of the vaulted cellars -
The tunnel full of water, the railroad tracks full of water
La Creuse The deep river
Its sound reverberated on the mountain
the walk in the river almost to the knees
Fear of water and to descend into the cellar
The cellar full of water
La Marne at Vitry-Le-François terrifying
Humidity enemy number 1
The Floods in Sologne
the streets of Paris, wet, at night—
The Beaches in Trouville, Houlgate, Villers, Cabourg
The Beaches in the Midi no tide in Cannes
The trips at night, on the road
The glimmer of the day, dusk. dawn
behind the curtain of tulle
The lights of the night, the fire of the gate, the cars at the Tuileries
The flowers in Deauville, in Antony, in the Luxembourg
The acacias in the woods, the mimosas in Nice, at the
croix des gardes
The tangos of the post war, the military marches
The songs of Chevalier, Mistinguett, Marie Dubois,
Mignon Werther, tales of offmann. [sic] Rip. Faust.
operettas Mme Angot, Philelie [?], Dede Corneville
These recalls of ecstatic moments are always concerned
with physical environments and never with persons
The sound of a pebble that falls in the black
and distant water of a well.
the unconscious memories that are reborn.

Louise Bourgeois, c. April-May 1959. Loose sheet: 8 1/4 x 5 1/2" (21 x 14 cm). LB-0877; © The Easton Foundation.