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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 450/II

Untitled, plate 7 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature

State/Variant:
State II of II
Date:
1998
Portfolio:
Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature (View All)
Descriptive Title:
Amputee with Crutch
Themes:
Body Parts, Figures, Nature, Objects
Techniques:
Aquatint, Drypoint, Etching
Description:
Drypoint, etching, and aquatint
Support:
Smooth, wove Magnani Incisione paper
Dimensions:
plate: 29 13/16 x 21 3/4" (75.7 x 55.2 cm); sheet: 39 1/8 x 27 13/16" (99.3 x 70.6 cm)
Signature:
"Louise Bourgeois 1998" lower right margin, pencil.
Publisher:
Julie Sylvester-Cabot,
Whitney Museum of American Art Editions, New York
Printer:
Harlan & Weaver, New York
Edition:
28; plus 12 A.P., 3 P.P., 1 H.C., 1 B.A.T.
Impression:
"a.p. 5/12" lower left margin, pencil, unknown hand.
Edition Information:
While no pencil additions appear on this plate, pencil additions do appear on plates 3, 4, and 8 of this portfolio and plates 3 and 4 of another portfolio (A.P. 1/12). It is not known whether pencil additions occur on portfolios across the edition.
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: shading of arm and leg stumps; printed in pink.

State Changes:
Plate 1 printed over plate 2.
Changes from state I, by burnishing: composition refined overall.
Changes from state I, in etching: crutch added and composition refined overall.
Benefit Work:
For Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
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."

Print publisher Julie Sylvester-Cabot founded the Whitney Museum of American Art Editions in 1996, with the purpose of raising funds to be used for acquisitions. The “Topiary” portfolio had its debut at the Whitney in a small 1998 exhibition that also included Bourgeois's 1985 sculpture titled, “Henriette.”
Artist’s Remarks:
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)
Installation Remarks:
The prints in this portfolio can be shown as a group, or individually.
Curatorial Remarks:
The compositions for plates 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the “Topiary” portfolio are related and appear to have shared some of the same source drawings and photocopy studies. Known studies are illustrated below in the Evolving Composition Diagram, and as Related Works in the Catalogue, for each plate.
Bibliography:
Manchester, Elizabeth. “Louise Bourgeois: Tree with Trunk, 1998.” Tate Modern website, 2003. www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/bourgeois-tree-p78621/text-summary. Last accessed November 7, 2014.

This article connects themes in the portfolio to recurring themes in the whole of Bourgeois's artwork, such as amputation and mutilation, the use of trees and plants as a metaphor for the human psyche, and the emotional significance of color.
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
416.1999.7
This Work in Other Collections:
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Tate Modern, London
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

Untitled, plate 7 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature
1998

Source
1997

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1997
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Ink and pencil on paper
1997

Source
1997

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled. 1997
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Untitled
Pencil, watercolor, and gouache on paper
1997

Studies

Louise Bourgeois. Untitled (Study for  Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature). 1997
1997

States

NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 7 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature. 1997
NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION State I of II
1997
Published Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 7 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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