Changes from state VI, in aquatint: shading added to well cover and magnet. (Because of the cut-out, the only shading remaining from the well cover is beneath the magnet.)
About the source drawing for plate 2 of 9, Bourgeois said: "We lived in Easton, where there was no city water and we were totally dependent on the well. The water table was low in Easton, so the well was quite deep. The guilt feeling and the severity that inhabited the house were expressed by, 'You better be good or I'll push you down the well.' You see, that was the ultimate punishment. Certainly, I didn't push anybody into the well, but look at these here, one and two...my sons Jean-Louis and Alain. I did something wrong and sure enough, they pushed me in. I'm not accusing them.... The figure is screaming at the bottom of the well. We have tunnel vision and we have bottom-of-the-well vision. If you visualize yourself down there, the question is, how are you going to get out? This philosophy is an optimistic philosophy. By hook or by crook, you are going to get yourself out. And I always did. But how? By drawing." (Quote cited in Bourgeois, Louise and Lawrence Rinder. "Louise Bourgeois Drawings and Observations." Berkeley: University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive University of California, Berkeley; Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1995, p. 76.)
"When you are at the bottom of the well, you look around and you say, who is going to get me out? In this case, Jerry [Gorovoy, the artist's assistant,] comes and he presents a rope, and I hook myself on the rope and he pulls me out. You see I can conceive of a way of getting out of the well. I'm not drowning. I'm just waiting for somebody." Interview with Lawrence Rinder, 9 May 1995 (Quote cited in Morris, Frances. "Louise Bourgeois" London: Tate Modern, 2007, p. 150.)
In 1941, Bourgeois and her family purchased a small country house in Easton, Connecticut, which remains in the family.
The well cover has been cut out. The gray seen in this area is the shadow of the cut-out paper edge. The area of the print with aquatint has mostly been cut out by the artist. What remains of the aquatint suggests that the well cover was in a dark shade and the magnet was in a lighter shade. Bourgeois's inscription on the verso of the other impression of state VII suggests that she thought the aquatint was too dark because it was obscuring the contour lines of the well cover. In later states, the aquatint is burnished away entirely.
According to the artist's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, this composition refers to Bourgeois's idea to use a magnet to pull the well cover up from the bottom of the well at her country house.
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
This Work in Other Collections:
Graphische Sammlung ETH Zürich, Switzerland National Gallery of Canada, Ontario, Canada National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne New York Public Library, NY
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