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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 449, study

Untitled (Study for Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature)

Date:
1997
Themes:
Figures, Nature
Techniques:
Other
Description:
Photocopy, with blue ink additions
Support:
Smooth paper
Dimensions:
sheet: 17 x 11" (43.2 x 27.9 cm)
Signature:
"LB / 97" right lower sheet, pencil.
Publisher:
unpublished
Edition:
1 known study
Impression:
Not numbered
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:
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 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.
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
350.2011

Untitled, plate 6 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 6 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 6 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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