25; plus 7 A.P., 2 P.P., 1 B.A.T., and 3 for the publisher
"1/25" center colophon, red lithograph.
This editioned illustrated book (2004) is based on a unique version of the same title (2002).
Dimensions throughout the edition vary slightly because of hemming and stretching fluctuations.
Detachable, snap and buttonhole binding.
The 2002 version of "Ode à l'Oubli" was Bourgeois's first book of fabric collages, and it is unique. The pages were made of linen hand towels from the artist’s wedding trousseau. These towels are embroidered with the monogram “LBG” for “Louise Bourgeois Goldwater.” (Bourgeois married the American art historian Robert Goldwater in 1938.) To assemble the book, Bourgeois worked with Mercedes Katz, a seamstress she had employed starting in 1999. The fabric collages on each page are made from fragments of her old clothing and household items. SOLO Impression printed the lithographed cover and the two text pages within the volume.
The artist issued an editioned version of “Ode à l'Oubli" in 2004, published by Peter Blum Edition. This version was fabricated from 2003 to 2004 by the SOLO Impression workshop, under the direction of Judith Solodkin. Solodkin worked together with Raylene Marasco of the fabric printing workshop Dyenamix. Solodkin also oversaw a staff of additional people who contributed to the editioning of the project.
To create the editioned version, fabrics in the unique book were replicated using lithography, digital printing, dying, sewing, and embroidery techniques. In some cases, new fabrics were purchased and then modified to resemble the original fabrics.
The SOLO Impression “Notebook of Fabrication” for the project has information on the assembly and pattern details for each page, as well as a schedule of production. It also contains sample fabrics and other materials. This notebook is held by The Easton Foundation.
"ODE A L'OUBLI" is also lithographed in red on the spine of the book.
In deciding the font size, layout, background, and sheet size for the cover of the 2002 unique version of "Ode à l'oubli," Bourgeois made trial versions. She also made trial versions for the text pages within the book.
Bourgeois's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, remembers a circumflex accent was mistakenly printed on the "A" on the cover and spine of the unique 2002 version, and on the trials for the cover. He is not sure how Bourgeois missed the error. When the cover for this editioned version was made in 2004, it was decided that the title looked best printed with all capital letters, with no accent, and with no italics.
Wye, Deborah. "Louise Bourgeois (American, born France 1911)." In Cornelia Butler and Alexandra Schwartz, eds., "Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2010, 274-277.
This article describes Bourgeois's relationship to fabric as a material for artworks, and the making of the 2002 unique version of "Ode à l'Oubli."
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
This Work in Other Collections:
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
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