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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 701, variant 3

Death of a Dog and Acid Rain

State/Variant:
Only state, variant
Date:
c. 1984
Themes:
Animals & Insects, Nature
Techniques:
Photogravure
Description:
Photogravure
Support:
Smooth, wove paper
Dimensions:
plate (component A): 9 1/8 × 14 13/16" (23.2 × 37.7 cm); plate (component B): 14 15/16 × 9 3/16" (38 × 23.4 cm); sheet: 29 15/16 × 23 3/16" (76 × 58.9 cm)
Signature:
"L Bourgeois" each component, lower left margin, pencil.
Inscription:
Component A: "The death of the [illeg.]" lower left margin, pencil, artist's hand.;
Component B: "Acid Rain" lower left margin, pencil, artist's hand.
Publisher:
unpublished
Printer:
Iris Editions, New York
Edition:
10 known variant impressions of the only state
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Not issued as a published edition, but some impressions were provided as a benefit.

Variant 1 appears to be an early test. The other variant impressions were printed with different paper and ink color combinations (see below in the Evolving Composition Diagram). An image of the impression in black ink on red paper is not available. There are three known impressions with black ink on white paper.

Two of the 10 known impressions are partial prints, as they include only one or the other plate. Images of these impressions were not available as of 2016 cataloguing. Both of these impressions are inscribed "AP" lower right margin, pencil, artist's hand. The "AP" inscription does not indicate a conventional A.P. impression, as "Death of a Dog" and "Acid Rain" were not issued as published editions.
Benefit Work:
For Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America
Background:
Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America was a nationwide mobilization of artists and intellectuals protesting the Reagan Administration's Central American policies through exhibitions and related events. (Other benefit prints on this occasion were executed by Leon Golub, Sol LeWitt, and Claes Oldenburg). A number of impressions were consigned to Marian Goodman Gallery Inc., New York, and shown there in 1984.
Artist’s Remarks:
Referring to component A, "Death of a Dog," Bourgeois said: "When I was about twelve or fifteen years old, our dog Pyram passed away. There was such emotion. It was a family affair. My father buried the dog in the garden, instead of letting the gardener do a good professional job. My father was lazy and sloppy and the hole was not deep enough. So the imprint of the dog was there forever. (It was an embossing! It was an engraving in reverse!) Finally, things grew on top... The sky is very sad... Why did the dog refuse to disappear?... I had to redo this incident and make it into a work of art."

Referring to the source drawing for component B, "Acid Rain," Bourgeois explained that although the print's title came much later than the original drawing, she liked it because "acid rain is like a plague... there is nothing you can do about it. This is a portrait of a certain kind of mood... one of overwhelming despair... it shows the enormity of the catastrophe. But the outside world is really not the cause here... it is an introverted thing. What can we do if we identify with that tiny creature [at bottom center] climbing the hill? It is a hopeless climb... the little creature is dying." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. “The Prints of Louise Bourgeois.” New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 150.)

Referring again to component A, "Death of a Dog," Bourgeois said: "The repetitive motion of a line, to caress an object, the licking of wounds, the back and forth of a shuttle, the endless repetition of waves, rocking a person to sleep, cleaning someone you like, an endless gesture of love." (Quote cited in Storr, Robert. "Louise Bourgeois Drawings." New York : R. Miller, 1988, p. 130.)
Curatorial Remarks:
Iris Editions was the imprint of Deli Sacilotto, a master printer who specialized in the photogravure technique. Bourgeois met Sacilotto through mutual friends and established a warm relationship with him. They worked together on projects in the early 1980s, and then again later, when Sacilotto joined Graphicstudio in Tampa, Florida and encouraged the artist to create the multiple, “Spider Home” (cat. no. 15).
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 76
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
469.1993

Death of a Dog and Acid Rain
c. 1984

Source
c. 1950

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. The Death of the Dog. c. 1950
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION The Death of the Dog
Ink on paper
c. 1950

Source
1951

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1951
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Ink on paper
1951

States

Louise Bourgeois. Death of a Dog and Acid Rain. c. 1984
Only state, variant
c. 1984
Louise Bourgeois. Death of a Dog and Acid Rain. c. 1984
Only state, variant
c. 1984
Louise Bourgeois. Death of a Dog and Acid Rain. c. 1984
Only state, variant
c. 1984
Louise Bourgeois. Death of a Dog and Acid Rain. c. 1984
Only state, variant
c. 1984
Louise Bourgeois. Death of a Dog and Acid Rain. c. 1984
Only state
c. 1984