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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION

Cat. No. 449/I

Untitled, plate 6 of 9, from the portfolio, Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature

State/Variant:
State I of II
Date:
1997
Descriptive Title:
Amputee with Peg Leg
Themes:
Body Parts, Figures, Nature
Techniques:
Etching
Description:
Etching, with pencil and correction fluid
Dimensions:
plate: 29 13/16 x 21 3/4" (75.8 x 55.2 cm); sheet: 39 1/8 x 27 3/4" (99.4 x 70.5 cm)
Signature:
"LB" lower right margin, pencil.
Publisher:
unpublished
Printer:
Harlan & Weaver, New York
Edition:
1 known impression of state I
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Proof before the editioning of state II.
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 stump; printed in pink.

State Changes:
Plate 1 printed alone.
Additions in pencil: clothing further delineated and peg leg added, in anticipation of state II.
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 paper type and plate dimensions of this impression could not be documented because this impression is not in MoMA's Collection and could not be examined in person. The plate dimensions are from the published impression in MoMA's Collection. The sheet dimensions were provided by the Louise Bourgeois Studio.

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.
Public Collection:
Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery

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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