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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 533.2, variant 1

Greetings: Laughing Monster

State/Variant:
Version 2 of 2, only state
Date:
1946
Alternate Title:
Season's Greetings
Themes:
Body Parts, Faces & Portraits, Figures, Words
Techniques:
Other
Description:
Relief halftone after soft ground etching, engraving, and drypoint
Support:
Smooth-coated, thin, wove paper
Dimensions:
composition: 2 15/16 x 4 13/16" (7.5 x 12.3 cm); sheet (folded): 3 15/16 x 5 3/4" (10 x 14.6 cm)
Signature:
Not signed
Publisher:
unpublished
Edition:
1 known variant impression of version 2, only state, outside the edition
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Proof before the editioning of version 2 as a relief halftone greeting card in three colors, and the reprinting and editioning of version 1, state VIII, for the portfolio, "Quarantania," published in 1990.

The colophon for the “Quarantania” portfolio states that “some [compositions] are individually titled, sometimes with a few variations.” It appears that Bourgeois occasionally inscribed titles or alternative titles while she was signing the prints.
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from version 1: composition transferred to a new matrix, in relief halftone.
Background:
This version of the composition was created as a 1946 holiday card for a circle of friends. It was printed at a commercial printshop.

Portfolio:
Since Galerie Lelong was exhibiting Bourgeois's sculpture, Jean Frémon, a gallery director, proposed undertaking a print project with her. It was decided to reprint plates executed earlier and still in Bourgeois's possession, because this work was unknown to the public. In 1990, after the plates had been stored for more than forty years, they were newly printed by Piero Crommelynck, and published for this portfolio. Only "Quarantania" (9), titled "Bosom Lady" in the 1940s, was reworked in 1990 by the artist.

The 1990 reprints differ in appearance from the 1940s impressions, due to corrosion of the plates and accidental scratching over time. Also, professional printing with uniform inking and wiping creates a darker plate tone. The prints were gathered in a portfolio to represent the work from the 1940s, with the title "Quarantania," deriving from the French "quarante," meaning "forty."

In preparing this project, proofs were also pulled from other old plates in the artist's possession. However, the poor condition of those plates made it impossible to achieve acceptable impressions (see "Youth," 1941-1944; "Laurel Easton," 1944; "Dame," 1948; and "The Burner," 1948). Proofs were also pulled from a 1970s and a 1980s plate. These were editioned and published as "Spirales," c. 1974, and "Femme Maison," 1984. Bourgeois chose a cover resembling that of "He Disappeared into Complete Silence," 1947 because she saw "Quarantania" as a continuation of that work.
Artist’s Remarks:
Flowing hair is a common motif in Bourgeois's work and is an indication of self-portraiture since she always wore her hair very long. It stands for beauty and strength in her work and somtimes also represents a figure's arms, as in this image. For Bourgeois this figure is not only a self-potrait but an angel: "Its body is sexless... it floats high above... it is free... it is not tied to anybody... this is a good spirit who celebrates a happy event." (Quote cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 38.)
Curatorial Remarks:
The colophon for the “Quarantania” portfolio states that the plates were engraved by Bourgeois at Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17 workshop in 1947. However, dates for the compositions vary and the fact that all were engraved and printed at Hayter’s workshop could not be confirmed. At this time, Bourgeois also worked on prints at home with a small press.
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 5
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
84.1994
This Work in Other Collections:
Bibliothéque Nationale de France, Paris
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE
Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland
Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

Greetings: Laughing Monster, plate 1 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania
1946; reprinted and published in 1990

Source
1946

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Joyeux Noel. 1946
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Joyeux Noel
Ink on paper
1946

First Version

Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 1 of 2, state I of VIII
1946
Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 1 of 2, state II of VIII
1946
Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 1 of 2, state III of VIII
1946
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Version 1 of 2, state IV of VIII
1946
Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 1 of 2, state V of VIII
1946
Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 1 of 2, state VI of VIII
1946
Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 1 of 2, state VII of VIII
1946
Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 1 of 2, state VII of VIII, variant
1946
Published Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster, plate 1 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1946, reprinted 1990
Version 1 of 2, state VIII of VIII
1946, reprinted 1990

Second Version

Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 2 of 2, only state
1946
Published Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 2 of 2, only state
1946
Published Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 2 of 2, only state
1946
Published Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster. 1946
Version 2 of 2, only state
1946

Portfolio
1990