The series of installation sets “La Rivière Gentille” (1-3) is not a traditional edition in that each set is unique. Each set has a different number of sheets and is comprised of different etchings and drawings.
All three sets incorporate plates 1-7 that when printed together form the tall, vertical composition "Look Up!” seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below. Plates 1-7 are numbered according to their position from top to bottom in “Look Up!,” the only composition that uses all seven plates. Of the seven plates, only plates 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 are used in “La Rivière Gentille.” Throughout the series, the unique variants combine two to four plates, which are printed side by side horizontally to appear seamless.
The unique variants of plates 1-7 in “La Rivière Gentille” are in the same Evolving Composition Diagram as “Look Up!” They are organized in rows according to the combination of plates used. The etchings in set 3 only use these plates, while sets 1 and 2 incorporate etchings that also appear in other series and editions.
In set 1, the 16 of 42 panels that include etching are: Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 19, 23, 25, 26, 29, 33, 34, 37, and 41.
Proximity to rivers was of importance to the Bourgeois family's tapestry restoration business. This connection to rivers remained with the artist long after her childhood and inspired a number of projects, including "Point d'Ironie" and "Ode à la Bièvre," seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below.
Benjamin Shiff, the director of the Osiris imprint, collaborated with Bourgeois in a highly experimental phase of printmaking that occupied the last years of her life, from 2005 to 2010. He first established a working relationship with the artist in the 1990s, but the late period is particularly noteworthy for the innovative and complex large-scale projects that evolved at that time. Shiff made use of professional workshops for printing, but he oversaw the creation of the printing plates as Bourgeois worked on them in her home studio. He also provided assistance as she added extensive hand additions and texts, and as she combined individual compositions into multi-panel works and illustrated books.
This sheet is one in a set of 42 sheets that constitutes a single work of art. All of these compositions are to be exhibited together in the indicated sequence, in consultation with the Louise Bourgeois Studio.
The paper type and color of the hand additions could not be documented because this work is not in MoMA's Collection and could not be examined in person. The sheet dimensions were provided by the Louise Bourgeois Studio.
The fragments of text inscribed within the series, "La Rivière Gentille," 2007, originated as parts of a longer text written by the artist c. April-May 1959. Those fragments are recorded below by panel. Following the fragments is the original text of the same title, in French and then in English.
Panel 3: LA BIEVRE Odilon Redon
Panel 4: LA BIEVRE!
Panel 9: l'eau noire
Panel 15: La Rivière Gentille
Panel 17: les lumières du jour
Panel 20: Les autres aux tuileries
Panel 21: les voyages de nuit sur la route
Panel 24: Les tangos de l'apres guerre
Panel 32: la cave d'eau
Panel 33: les chaussées de Paris
Panel 34: Mouillées le soir
Panel 35: les fleurs à Deauville à Antony au Luxembourg
Panel 40: Le bruit du Caillou qui tombe
Original Text: La Rivière Gentille La Bièvre (Watteau) Les Deux Bièvres Odilon Redon La Bièvre et la fausse Bièvre Les puits et leur eau noire. Le bruit du caillou qui tombe L’attraction morbide des caves voutées Le tunnel plein d’eau, la voie du chemin de fer plein d’eau La Creuse la rivière profonde Son bruit réverbéré contre la montagne La marche dans la rivière jusqu’aux genoux La peur de l’eau et de descendre dans la cave. La cave pleine d’eau La Marne à Vitry-le-François effrayante L’humidité ennemi numéro 1 Les inondations en Sologne Les chaussées de Paris, mouillées le soir – Les plages à Trouville, Houlgate, Villers, Cabourg, Honfleur Les plages du midi sans marée à Cannes Les voyages de nuit sur la route Les lumières du jour, l’heure du berger. L’aube depuis le rideau de tulle* Les lumières de la nuit, le feu dans la grille. Les autos aux Tuileries. Les fleurs à Deauville, à Antony, au Luxembourg. Les acacias au bois, les mimosas à Nice, à la Croix des Gardes. Les tangos de l’après-guerre, les marches militaires, les airs de Chevalier, Mistinguett, Marie Dubas, Mignon Werther, Contes d’Hoffmann, Rip. Faust Opérettes, Mme Angot, Fifi, Dédé, Corneville. Les recalls of ecstatic moments are always concerned with physical environment and never with persons. Le bruit d’un caillou qui tombe dans l’eau noire et lointaine d’un puits. Les conscienscious memories qui renaissent.
English translation: The gentle River The Bièvre (Watteau) The Deux Bièvres Odilon Redon The Bièvre and the false Bièvre The wells and their black water. the sound of a pebble that falls The morbid attraction of the vaulted cellars - The tunnel full of water, the railroad tracks full of water La Creuse The deep river Its sound reverberated on the mountain the walk in the river almost to the knees Fear of water and to descend into the cellar The cellar full of water La Marne at Vitry-Le-François terrifying Humidity enemy number 1 The Floods in Sologne the streets of Paris, wet, at night— The Beaches in Trouville, Houlgate, Villers, Cabourg Honfleur The Beaches in the Midi no tide in Cannes The trips at night, on the road The glimmer of the day, dusk. dawn behind the curtain of tulle The lights of the night, the fire of the gate, the cars at the Tuileries The flowers in Deauville, in Antony, in the Luxembourg The acacias in the woods, the mimosas in Nice, at the croix des gardes The tangos of the post war, the military marches The songs of Chevalier, Mistinguett, Marie Dubois, Mignon Werther, tales of offmann. [sic] Rip. Faust. operettas Mme Angot, Philelie [?], Dede Corneville These recalls of ecstatic moments are always concerned with physical environments and never with persons The sound of a pebble that falls in the black and distant water of a well. the unconscious memories that are reborn.
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