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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 430, study 1

Untitled (Study for Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series)

State/Variant:
Study
Date:
1993
Themes:
Motherhood & Family, Objects
Techniques:
Other
Description:
Photocopy, with pencil additions
Support:
Smooth paper
Dimensions:
sheet: 16 5/8 x 11" (42.3 x 28 cm)
Signature:
Not signed
Publisher:
unpublished
Edition:
1 known photocopy study; 2 known tracing studies
Impression:
Not numbered
Background:
Bourgeois was often inspired by the subjects of early drawings when creating works at much later dates. This 1994 portfolio is an example of a project based primarily on drawings from the 1940s and referring to her life in New York at that time. The exceptions are as follows: plate 1, based on a drawing from 1986 that references childbirth; plates 4 and 9, based on drawings from the 1940s but depicting memories of her childhood years in France; plate 11, most probably based on a drawing from the 1940s of a European hotel desk.
Artist’s Remarks:
Inscribed on a source drawing, 1986: "Ma mere et moi—Jean only [strikethrough] blames only someone who loves me unconditionaly [sic]—any one else would kick. The unconditionality of my mother's is essential to me. The literal repulses me."

Written on a loose sheet, c. 1986:
"My interest in pruning shears that cut the
too much, the refuse, the rejects, the too muches.

Alain refused to be born, to get out, to be in business
for himself, to be separated, to be independent—
The umbilical cord cutteress
They cut me, separated me, I am going to cut
everything around me, absolutely everything—I want the
monopoly of cutting, the trees, at 345, all
the cutters
I am the cutter who cuts everything.
I cut the books, the stones, the wood of the trees
I cut them up, I cut them short—The
Passive has become active forever,
cut the arms and the legs, cut their wings [underlined]
who is culpable? who carried out the slicing
curse the cutter death to the cutter" (The Easton Foundation: LB-0050)

About a source drawing, 1986: "This should be titled, 'The Umbilical Cord,' the cord that ties the little one to the big one.
As you see, it is a weapon. This is a cutting instrument, but if you don't want to see that, you can say, 'No, it's not a cutting instrument; it is a toy.' It is a game between what is real and what is a toy.
Well, I thought wrongly that I could frighten people. For instance, if I have a terrific tantrum, I think wrongly that people are going to be impressed, that I am going to frighten them. They are not afraid at all. They laugh, and they say, 'Louise, keep still.' So they cut you down to size." (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. 139.)
Curatorial Remarks:
In addition to the source drawings, Bourgeois used two tracings and a photocopy—designated as studies—to develop this composition. See the Evolving Composition Diagram below.

Of the 14 plates in "Autobiographical Series," Bourgeois titled plates 6 and 12. The untitled plates have been assigned descriptive titles for cataloguing purposes.
Other Remarks:
According to the artist's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, Bourgeois traced an actual pair of scissors to develop this composition. She also used tracings of common household objects in 2006 to develop the print series, “Lullaby.”
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
462.2010

Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series
1993-1994

Source
1986

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1986
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Oil and watercolor on paper
1986

Source
1986

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1986
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Ink and pencil on tracing paper
1986

Studies

Louise Bourgeois. Untitled (Study for Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series). 1993
Study
1993
Louise Bourgeois. Untitled (Study for Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series). 1993
Study
1993
Louise Bourgeois. Untitled (Study for Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series). 1993
Study
1993

States

Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series. 1994
State I of III
1994
Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series. 1994
State II of III
1994
Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series. 1994
State II of III, variant
1994
Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series. 1994
State II of III, variant
1994
Published Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 1 of 14, from the portfolio, Autobiographical Series. 1994
State III of III
1994

Portfolio
1994

Louise Bourgeois. Autobiographical Series. 1994
Autobiographical Series
1994
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