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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 598.1, variant 4

Whitney Murders

State/Variant:
Version 1 of 3, only state, variant
Date:
1978
Themes:
Words
Techniques:
Other, Relief
Description:
Relief, from stamped plate
Support:
Thin, laid Japanese paper
Dimensions:
composition: 10 7/16 x 11 9/16" (26.5 x 29.3 cm); sheet: 12 5/8 x 16 7/8" (32.1 x 42.8 cm)
Signature:
"Louise Bourgeois" lower right margin, pencil.
Inscription:
"Rubbing à la cuillère" lower right margin, pencil, artist's hand; "LEAD RUBBING -- 1978 c [circled]" lower right margin, blue ink, artist's hand.
Publisher:
unpublished
Printer:
The artist
Edition:
4 known variant impressions of version 1
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Not issued as a published edition at any state.
Artist’s Remarks:
"When this was done, it was a real exorcism... I didn't hold a grudge. There had been a sharp disappointment." Bourgeois continued, "I think it was that I was not included in a show... I was refused."
Showing some lead sheets like those she used for the matrices of these prints, she remarked, "I love this material... lead... I cut out the shape. I would call the metal letters branding... I used a mallet to bang them. I used it because I wanted to emphasize it. There is branding, rubbing, and stencil here. This is experimental." (Quote cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 144.)

"The impetus and the violence came from the fact that I was put in a situation of rivalry with a lot of my colleagues. [...] 'Whitney Murders' meant I resented so much the whole thing, because I was not in. You see? That I was ready to murder everybody, right?" (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, pp. 316-317.)
Curatorial Remarks:
This impression is printed in relief on the verso and recto. The print on the verso shows through to the recto.

In Wye and Smith, "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois," 1994, p. 144-147, techniques were catalogued as follows: Versions 1 and 2: lead rubbing; version 3: stencil and rubbing. Actually, the artist's inscription on an impression of version 1 clarifies that she was referring to the method of relief printing in which a spoon is used to apply pressure to the verso of the paper sitting on top of the plate, thus transferring the image without the use of a printing press. This is the technique that was used in the printing of version 1 and 2. In contrast, version 3 includes rubbing (frottage) in the traditional sense.
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 72.4
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
165.1990

Whitney Murders
1978

First Version

Louise Bourgeois. Whitney Murders. 1978
Version 1 of 3, only state, variant
1978
Louise Bourgeois. Whitney Murders. 1978
Version 1 of 3, only state, variant
1978
Louise Bourgeois. Whitney Murders. 1978
Version 1 of 3, only state, variant
1978
Louise Bourgeois. Whitney Murders. 1978
Version 1 of 3, only state, variant
1978

Matrix (Second Version)

Louise Bourgeois. Untitled (Lead Plate for Whitney Murders). 1978
Version 2 of 3, matrix
1978

Second Version

Louise Bourgeois. Whitney Murders. 1978
Version 2 of 3, only state
1978

Third Version

Louise Bourgeois. Whitney Murders. 1978
Version 3 of 3, only state
1978