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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION

Cat. No. 452/I

Untitled, plate 9 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature

State/Variant:
State I of II
Date:
1998
Descriptive Title:
Tree with Crutch
Themes:
Nature, Objects
Techniques:
Etching
Description:
Etching, with pencil additions
Dimensions:
plate: 29 7/8 x 21 5/8" (75.9 x 55 cm); sheet: 39 1/4 x 27 1/2" (99.7 x 69.9 cm)
Signature:
"LB" lower right margin, pencil.
Publisher:
unpublished
Printer:
Harlan & Weaver, New York
Edition:
1 known impression of state I
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Proof before the editioning of state II.
State Changes and Additions:
Matrices:
The progression of this composition, as seen in the Evolving Composition Diagram below, involved 2 plates.

Plate 1: line elements of composition; printed in black.

Plate 2: crutch; printed in red.

State Changes:
Plate 1 printed alone.
Background:
According to Bourgeois’s assistant Jerry Gorovoy, topiary work interested Bourgeois because the cutting and healing of the plant makes the tree stronger. He also points out the portfolio's connection to Bourgeois’s sister, Henriette, who had a condition that caused stiffness in her leg. Bourgeois referred to this as, "in effect, a wooden leg."

The editioned state II of this composition was published as a benefit for the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Artist’s Remarks:
Inscribed on the verso of related drawing, "Topiary," 1997: “Robert Hughes or John Russell / Vocabulary of the topiarist / Tree surgeon / The classical style is built on topiary / French garden, formality / Tivoli, the romantic 19th century English-garden / Care-giver – topiarist. = sculpture / The couple – cauterization / Flaming / TAR + shears / Antiseptic / Water=repellent / topiary AP. 97”

Inscription on the verso of related drawing, Topiary, 1998: "Topiary / I prop you up at the crotch with a crutch / You prop me up, l'aveugle et le Paralytique / Soutenir Souteneur"

Written on a loose sheet, c. 1990s:
“Topiary
The trainer, the teacher, the carver, the butcher
To reject (cut off) and be moral about it
That is the fun
To nurture and train to full potential (valuable, useful)
I am going to cut (reject) everything in sight because I did not get what I wanted
What
To be loved by 1, 2, 3, 4
c’est la peur […]”
(The Easton Foundation: LB-0050)
Curatorial Remarks:
The paper type and plate dimensions of this impression could not be documented because this impression is not in MoMA's Collection and could not be examined in person. The plate dimensions are from the published impression in MoMA's Collection. The sheet dimensions were provided by the Louise Bourgeois Studio.
Public Collection:
Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery

Untitled, plate 9 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature
1998

Source
1998

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Topiary. 1998
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Topiary
Pencil and ink on paper
1998

Source
1998

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Topiary. 1998
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Topiary
Pencil and ink on paper
1998

Studies

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled (Study for plate 9 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature). 1998
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION 1998

States

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 9 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature. 1998
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION State I of II
1998
Published Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 9 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature. 1998
State II of II
1998

Portfolio
1998

Louise Bourgeois. Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature. 1998
Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature
1998
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