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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 600.2/I

Barges

State/Variant:
Version 2 of 2, state I of III
Date:
c. 2000
Alternate Title:
Mother and 3 Children
Themes:
Abstraction, Motherhood & Family, Objects
Techniques:
Drypoint
Description:
Drypoint, with red ink and white correction fluid additions
Support:
Smooth, wove paper
Dimensions:
plate: 9 15/16 x 11 15/16" (25.3 x 30.4 cm); sheet: 10 5/8 x 8 9/16" (27 x 21.7 cm) (dimensions reflect full plate size; this is a partial print)
Signature:
"LB" lower right margin, red ink.
Inscription:
"AP" lower left margin, red ink, artist's hand. Verso: "family of / BARGES and their cordages. / mother and / 3 children / AP means artist Proof" center sheet, red ink, artist's hand.
Publisher:
unpublished
Printer:
Harlan & Weaver, New York
Edition:
1 known impression of version 2, state I
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
The "AP" inscription, in the artist's hand, does not indicate a conventional A.P. impression, as this composition was not issued as a published edition at any state.
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from version 1: composition transferred to a new plate, in drypoint.
Additions in red ink: composition reinforced overall; shading in boats and corners of composition added; “MOTHER” text added, anticipating state III.
Background:
In 1989, to help Bourgeois prepare for what would be a major project together, "the puritan," Ben Shiff of Osiris, New York, provided her with test plates on which she made various technical experiments.
Artist’s Remarks:
When discussing the Untitled 1950 source drawing: "This is so personal that I don't think it is interesting to know what lies behind it. There are four boats. They are all attached to each other, and in the upper left they are attached to something that is not visible. You see, I don't think it is interesting to know what it is. It has to do with the black. The blackness shows it is a moral issue, and the moral issue is what? It has to do with responsibility--responsibility and guilt. So it means that my responsibility, in this case, is to keep these four boats afloat: four different people, namely, the big one is the husband and the three small ones are the children."

When discussing the Untitled 1946 ink drawing, seen below in Related Works in Other Mediums: "... I am the little one underneath, and the three others are the three members of the family. The problem is to navigate, to play together--they obviously play together; they have a good time-- so this is the opposite of the drawing of the black boats. This is a happy family [...] The common denominator here is that the little figure at the bottom--which is a self-portrait--has managed to make the three kids happy. In the drawing of the black boarts it is the same subject except that--because of the guilt involved--I have not managed to make them happy. So it is guilt that I had toward my children about not being a good mother. Simple as that." (Quotes cited in Bourgeois, Louise and Lawrence Rinder. "Louise Bourgeois Drawings and Observations." Berkeley: University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive University of California, Berkeley; Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1995, p. 115.)
Curatorial Remarks:
The plate was only partially printed for this impression, as the sheet was smaller than the plate. What appear to be the left and upper plate marks are actually red ink additions. The full plate is seen below in Version 2, state II.

The 1950 source drawing was made on a printed advertisement, mostly obscured by ink.
Former Cat. No.:
W & S B8
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
1756.2008

Barges
1989; 2000-2001

Source
1950

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1950
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Ink on paper
1950

Studies

Louise Bourgeois. Untitled (Study for Barges). 2000
Study
2000

First Version

Louise Bourgeois. Barges. 1989
Version 1 of 2, only state, variant
1989
Louise Bourgeois. Barges. c. 1989
Version 1 of 2, only state, variant
c. 1989

Second Version

Louise Bourgeois. Barges. c. 2000
Version 2 of 2, state I of III
c. 2000
Louise Bourgeois. Barges. 2000-2001
Version 2 of 2, state II of III
2000-2001
Louise Bourgeois. Barges. 2000-2001
Version 2 of 2, state III of III
2000-2001