Bourgeois was often inspired by the subjects of early drawings when creating works at much later dates. This 1994 portfolio is an example of a project based primarily on drawings from the 1940s and referring to her life in New York at that time. The exceptions are as follows: plate 1, based on a drawing from 1986 that references childbirth; plates 4 and 9, based on drawings from the 1940s but depicting memories of her childhood years in France; plate 11, most probably based on a drawing from the 1940s of a European hotel desk.
Inscribed on the verso of state I, variant: "Le Chantage" upper left sheet, pencil, artist's hand; "Robert would / have total / despair and would / cry. R. was / reduced to tears." left upper sheet, pencil, artist's hand; "1944 / Robert did not want children. / I did. It was a very / serious episode. / I thought we couldn't have a child. / If we did not adopt a child. I am / leaving. When they / were there. He / loved them / + / lost interest." upper right sheet, pencil, artist's hand; "The Runaway girl or Blackmail revisited in 1994. / If you don't do what I want, I abandon you. / I run away. I take my little rescue. / The blackmail I served to my husband forty years / was introjected [sic] by Alain, was perceived subliminally / by Alain, and served to his own mother 40 years / later. Alain is an expert practitioner of Blackmail. / 1) The Saratoga episode (motorcycle) / 2) 1994 - If you don't do what I want, I am going to / dutied [sic] bound to go to the graduation of Alexandre / in Boston. / To Blackmail is to shame the person. / If you do not say to me that you love me / If you do not take me in your arms and kiss me / I am going to starve myself to death. / I will not eat. / At the age of 7* the [sic] do that. The mother says I do / love you. I don't believe. If you do not perceive it, you are / sick. What do you / want from me. / Money has become love. I throw myself down the ravine. / I am going to hurt myself."
The source drawing for this work was not available for reproduction. It can, however, be viewed on microfilm at the Archives of American Art, reel 90, frame 24.
Of the 14 plates in "Autobiographical Series," Bourgeois titled plates 6 and 12. The untitled plates have been assigned descriptive titles for cataloguing purposes.
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
This Work in Other Collections:
Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Québec Museu da Gravura Cidade de Curitiba, Brazil Tate Modern, London
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