"a.p. 5/12" lower left margin, pencil, unknown hand.
Pencil additions to this plate differ slightly from the pencil additions to this plate in another portfolio (A.P. 1/12). It is not known whether pencil additions occur on this plate across the edition.
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from state I, in etching: figure and base of tree further delineated, tree roots darkened. Changes from state I, by burnishing: contour of figure refined. Additions in pencil: details added to figure.
For Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
According to Bourgeois’s assistant Jerry Gorovoy, topiary work interested Bourgeois because the cutting and healing of the plant makes the tree stronger.
Print publisher Julie Sylvester-Cabot founded the Whitney Museum of American Art Editions in 1996, with the purpose of raising funds to be used for acquisitions. The “Topiary” portfolio had its debut at the Whitney in a small 1998 exhibition that also included Bourgeois's 1985 sculpture titled, “Henriette.”
Inscribed on the verso of the source drawing: "his family tree no. 1"
Inscribed on the verso of related drawing, "Topiary," 1997: “Robert Hughes or John Russell / Vocabulary of the topiarist / Tree surgeon / The classical style is built on topiary / French garden, formality / Tivoli, the romantic 19th century English-garden / Care-giver – topiarist. = sculpture / The couple – cauterization / Flaming / TAR + shears / Antiseptic / Water=repellent / topiary AP. 97”
Written on a loose sheet, c. 1990s: “Topiary The trainer, the teacher, the carver, the butcher To reject (cut off) and be moral about it That is the fun To nurture and train to full potential (valuable, useful) I am going to cut (reject) everything in sight because I did not get what I wanted What To be loved by 1, 2, 3, 4 c’est la peur […]” (The Easton Foundation: LB-0050)
The prints in this portfolio can be shown as a group, or individually.
Manchester, Elizabeth. “Louise Bourgeois: Tree with Trunk, 1998.” Tate Modern website, 2003. www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/bourgeois-tree-p78621/text-summary. Last accessed November 7, 2014.
This article connects themes in the portfolio to recurring themes in the whole of Bourgeois's artwork, such as amputation and mutilation, the use of trees and plants as a metaphor for the human psyche, and the emotional significance of color.
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
This Work in Other Collections:
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY Tate Modern, London Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
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