There is an editioned version of this unique fabric illustrated book. It was published in 2004 in an edition of 25 plus 7 A.P., 6 P.P.
68 unnumbered pages.
"Ode à l'Oubli" was Bourgeois's first book of fabric collages, and it is unique. The pages were made of linen hand towels from the artist’s wedding trousseau. These towels are embroidered with the monogram “LBG” for “Louise Bourgeois Goldwater.” (Bourgeois married the American art historian Robert Goldwater in 1938.) To assemble the book, Bourgeois worked with Mercedes Katz, a seamstress she had employed starting in 1999. The fabric collages on each page are made from fragments of her old clothing and household items. SOLO Impression printed the lithographed cover and the two text pages within the volume. In 2004, Bourgeois issued an editioned version of "Ode à l'Oubli," published by Peter Blum Edition.
"ODE Â L'OUBLI" is also lithographed on a fabric sheet that is stitched to the spine.
In deciding the font size, layout, background, and sheet size for the cover of "Ode à l'Oubli," Bourgeois made trial versions. She also made trial versions for the text pages within the book.
Bourgeois's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, remembers a circumflex accent was mistakenly printed on the "A" on the cover and spine of the unique 2002 version, and on the trials for the cover. He is not sure how Bourgeois missed the error. When the cover for the editioned version was made in 2004, it was decided that the title looked best printed with all capital letters, with no accent, and with no italics.
Wye, Deborah. "Louise Bourgeois (American, born France 1911)." In Cornelia Butler and Alexandra Schwartz, eds., "Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2010, 274-277.
This article describes Bourgeois's relationship to fabric as a material for artworks, and the making of "Ode à l'Oubli."
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
This Work in Other Collections:
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
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