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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 533-541

Quarantania

Date:
1990
Themes:
Abstraction, Animals & Insects, Architecture, Body Parts, Faces & Portraits, Figures, Nature, Objects, Words
Techniques:
Drypoint, Etching
Description:
Portfolio with 9 compositions: 6 with engraving, 6 with drypoint, 5 with soft ground etching
Support:
Smooth, wove paper
Dimensions:
sheet (each): 18 5/8 x 12 15/16" (47 x 33 cm)
Signature:
"Louise Bourgeois" lower right margin each plate, pencil.
Publisher:
Galerie Lelong, Paris
Printer:
Piero Crommelynck, Paris
Edition:
50; plus 10 A.P. (numbered I-X)
Impression:
"EA III/X" lower center colophon, pencil, unknown hand.
"EA III/X" lower left margin of each sheet, pencil, unknown hand.
Housing:
Beige linen folder with flaps, lined with cream paper; "LOUISE / BOURGEOIS" engraved on white label affixed to cover. Housing modeled after that of the illustrated book "He Disappeared into Complete Silence".
Background:
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.
Installation Remarks:
The 9 compositions that make up this portfolio can be exhibited together, in any order, or individually.
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, 26, 23, 25, 4, 22, 24, 27, 28
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
259.1992.1-9
This Work in Other Collections:
Bibliothéque Nationale de France, Paris
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE
Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland
Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (Impression no. 17/50)

From the portfolio

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  • Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster, plate 1 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1946, reprinted 1990
    Greetings: Laughing Monster, plate 1...
    Version 1 of 2, state VIII of VIII
    1946, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. Greetings: Laughing Monster, plate 1 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1946, reprinted 1990
  • Louise Bourgeois. Vase of Tears, plate 2 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1946, reprinted 1990
    Vase of Tears, plate 2 of 9, from the...
    State III of III
    1946, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. Vase of Tears, plate 2 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1946, reprinted 1990
  • Louise Bourgeois. The Symbols, plate 3 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1942, reprinted 1990
    The Symbols, plate 3 of 9, from the...
    Only state
    1942, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. The Symbols, plate 3 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1942, reprinted 1990
  • Louise Bourgeois. La Maison d'Arcueil, plate 4 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1947, reprinted 1990
    La Maison d'Arcueil, plate 4 of 9...
    Only state, variant
    1947, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. La Maison d'Arcueil, plate 4 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1947, reprinted 1990
  • Louise Bourgeois. Season's Greeting, plate 5 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1944, reprinted 1990
    Season's Greeting, plate 5 of 9, from...
    Only state
    1944, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. Season's Greeting, plate 5 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1944, reprinted 1990
  • Louise Bourgeois. The Grid, plate 6 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. c. 1945, reprinted 1990
    The Grid, plate 6 of 9, from the...
    Only state
    c. 1945, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. The Grid, plate 6 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. c. 1945, reprinted 1990
  • Louise Bourgeois. Boxwoods, plate 7 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. c. 1945, reprinted 1990
    Boxwoods, plate 7 of 9, from the...
    Only state
    c. 1945, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. Boxwoods, plate 7 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. c. 1945, reprinted 1990
  • Louise Bourgeois. Thompson Street, plate 8 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1948, reprinted 1990
    Thompson Street, plate 8 of 9, from...
    State IV of IV
    1948, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. Thompson Street, plate 8 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1948, reprinted 1990
  • Louise Bourgeois. Bosom Lady, plate 9 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1948, reprinted 1990
    Bosom Lady, plate 9 of 9, from the...
    State V of V
    1948, reprinted 1990
    Louise Bourgeois. Bosom Lady, plate 9 of 9, from the portfolio, Quarantania. 1948, reprinted 1990