Bourgeois explained that she was very fond of maps because of "their exact physical references." Like a grid, a map provides "stability" for her. But as she looked at this composition, she saw that the house and the other structures in the first state had been transformed. "They seem more like sculptures now. They are very expressive... they are very happy... they are joking with each other." She pointed to the group of lines extending out from the neck of the figure at the right and described them as a sign of communication. "If she feels good, she likes a little repartee."
Bourgeois described the technique that resulted in the unusual quality of line visible in the first state. "The plate was covered with ground. Then I attacked it and the ground popped out in clumps. It's a push line. It is hard to get if one doesn't have biceps. It is easier to go right into real cutting, in sculpture." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 112.)
In the second half of the 1940s, Bourgeois spent time at Atelier 17, the print workshop of Stanley William Hayter. The workshop had transferred operations from Paris to New York during the war years. It is not known precisely which prints she made at the workshop since she also worked at home on a small press. The designation of “the artist at Atelier 17” as printer means that the impression was likely made at the workshop. The designation is based on dates, inscriptions, techniques favored at Atelier 17, and/or stylistic similarities to images in the illustrated book “He Disappeared into Complete Silence,” which the artist repeatedly cited as having been made at Atelier 17. It is also possible that Bourgeois worked on certain plates both at home and at the workshop, or pulled impressions at both places.
If you are interested in reproducing images from The Museum of Modern Art web site, please visit the Image Permissions page (www.moma.org/permissions). For additional information about using content from MoMA.org, please visit About this Site (www.moma.org/site).