Proof after the edition of version 1, state I, and before the editions of version 2, state VIII, on paper and fabric.
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from version 1: outline of composition rendered on a new plate, in drypoint; image size decreased. Changes from version 2, state VI in engraving: fur added to background legs.
Version 1, state I, of this print was published, untitled, by the American Art Award, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Coach, Inc., New York. The publishers commissioned the work on the occasion of the Whitney's 2006 American Art Award, which was sponsored by Coach. The Whitney commissions an artwork each year to serve as the award to individuals or organizations recognized for sustained commitment to American artistic and cultural heritage. The honoree in 2006, the year of Bourgeois's commission, was Terry J. Lundgren, CEO, Chairman of the Board, and President of Macy's, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio. Each of the editioned impressions, numbered I/IV-IV/IV, went to the Whitney Museum, the honoree, the sponsor, and the artist.
Bourgeois continued to work with the composition in second and third versions, titling the print "Self Portrait." In 2007, Harlan & Weaver, New York, published version 2, state VIII, in editions on paper and on fabric. Version 3 was not published.
Cats are a significant theme throughout Bourgeois's work. Bourgeois kept pet cats, named Champfleurette and Tyger, at her home in New York. While growing up in France, her family had pet cats and dogs, as well.
"The five legged creature represents my family. I grew up in a family of five in France and also raised a family of five of my own in New York. My five legged animal is personal; it is a self portrait of my obligations. The idea of the family that stands together is very important to me." (Louise Bourgeois Studio Archive, Document Reference: LBQ-0001)
The paper used for this impression was handmade by Gangolf Ulbricht, Berlin, for Bourgeois, and it features a custom watermark: "LB" enclosed in a rectangle.
This plate, used for version 2, has significant distress marks.
A pouch merchandise item was made from an image of version 2, state VIII of this composition.
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