Aquatint and drypoint, with pencil and white acrylic stencil additions
Smooth, wove paper
plate: 31 13/16 x 23 5/8" (80.8 x 60 cm); sheet: 36 1/4 x 27 3/8" (92 x 69.5 cm)
"prints are a [illegible] of time / experimental prints are forgiveable (?)" upper middle margin, charcoal, artist's hand; "This is / nearly a / cutout (?)" upper right margin, charcoal, artist's hand; "felix- what about beads of pink in concentric circles in the drops of water [arrow pointing up] Joan Krau [illegible]" lower middle margin, black ink, artist's hand.
Proof before the editioning of state VIII in color as well as in black and white.
State Changes and Additions:
Matrices: The progression of this composition, as seen in the Evolving Composition Diagram below, involved 4 plates. The published color edition included plates 1, 3, and 4, while the published black and white edition included only plates 1 and 3.
Plate 1: overall composition, except for dotted lines; printed in red or black. Plate 2: curving, dotted lines; printed in red or black. Plate 3: (replaces plate 2) curving, dotted lines reconfigured with larger, more widely spaced dots; printed in red or black. Plate 4: tonal background shading; printed in blue.
State Changes and Additions: Plate 4 printed over plate 1, printed over plate 3. Changes from state VI, by burnishing: thin spiraling lines partially removed from upper left composition. Changes from state VI, in aquatint: tonal shading added throughout background. Additions in stencil: highlights resembling water ripples added to lower right and upper left composition.
State VIII of this composition was published in color and in black and white as a benefit for the Paris Review.
Founded in Paris in 1953, The Paris Review is now based in New York and showcases emerging writers and artists, introduces unpublished poetry and fiction by established writers, and presents interviews. Works of art are regularly featured, and sometimes whole portfolios or series by individual artists are reproduced. Since 1965, the magazine has published editioned prints to raise money. In 1992 the magazine asked Bourgeois to create such a benefit print, which also appeared on the cover of the Spring 1994 issue, No. 130.
"I like the Rorschach effect here... it is like the optical illusion... others see things in it. It can be a toi, not a moi." Bourgeois noted that this print was based on a red ink and watercolor drawing done several months earlier, at the same time she was being constantly interviewed, photographed, and filmed in preparation for the Venice Biennale, in which she represented the United States. For this print, she turned the image upside down. "This is the pomegranate... it is the movement of twisting and squeezing out the juice of the pomegranate. All those interviewers squeezed me to exhaustion... so this was a remark on them. This can only happen to an over-achiever... an over-achiever wants to please... wants to please the teacher... she can't resist... she doesn't know how to say no. It is exhausting. When you are in the grip of Barbara Walters, you cannot fight back!" [Barbara Walters is only meant figuratively here.]
"I received constant encouragement and flattery from my family and was never criticized. That formed a pattern for my whole life. I am an over-achiever. That is different from ambition because it is a desire to please you, one person... not to please the world. But the over-achiever can allow herself to be manipulated by an interviewer. There is exhaustion, but then there is release if you see that your effort was not in vain... that you were understood." (Quote cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 229.)
Inscribed on the verso of the source drawing: "The Camel through the eye of the needle."
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 147
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
This Work in Other Collections:
Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN Museum of Fine Arts, Boston National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
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