The works in the Evolving Composition Diagram below involve two tall vertical plates, A and B. The plates were printed individually, and side by side in different layouts. The plates printed singly are organized in rows according to which plate is used. The impressions with both plates are organized into 2 versions according to the layout of the plates.
In the first version, the layout shows the leaves pointing out toward the edges of the sheet. In the second version, the layout shows the leaves pointing in toward the center of the sheet. The third version is a multi-panel work with an impression of the first version alongside impressions of plates A and B.
These varying works were issued in 3 separate editions and as unique variants, all listed below and seen in the Evolving Composition Diagram. (For the unique variants, the artist sometimes changed the orientation of the sheet from that seen in the editions.)
Editions: Plates A and B: "Sheaves" First Version: "The Smell of Eucalyptus (#1)" Second Version: "The Smell of Eucalyptus (#2)"
Unique Variants: Plate A: "Differentiate" illustrated book cover Plate A: Untitled, plate 1 of 9, from the illustrated book, "Differentiate" Plate B: Untitled, plate 7 of 9, from the illustrated book, "Differentiate" First version: "Ode to Eugénie Grandet" First version: "The Sense of Something Missing" First version: "When I Was Young" Second version: "A Mirror of Me!!!" Second version: "Do Not Cut Me Down!" Third version: Untitled, no. 4 of 5, from the series, "The Vocabulary of Seduction"
The plates were also printed in combination with other plates in multi-panel works. They all include extensive hand additions, and sometimes only minor areas of the plates were inked. These works can be seen below in Related Works in the Catalogue:
"The Geometry of Pleasure (#3)" "The Geometry of Pleasure (#4)" "The Geometry of Pleasure (#5)" “The Geometry of Desire (#1)”
Benjamin Shiff, the director of the Osiris imprint, collaborated with Bourgeois in a highly experimental phase of printmaking that occupied the last years of her life, from 2005 to 2010. He first established a working relationship with the artist in the 1990s, but the late period is particularly noteworthy for the innovative and complex large-scale projects that evolved at that time. Shiff made use of professional workshops for printing, but he oversaw the creation of the printing plates as Bourgeois worked on them in her home studio. He also provided assistance as she added extensive hand additions and texts, and as she combined individual compositions into multi-panel works and illustrated books.
Bourgeois derived this title from a novel by Honoré de Balzac, the plot of which involved the domination of a father over his daughter. Bourgeois identified with this situation. She created a series of works about the character Eugénie Grandet inspired by an exhibition project for the Masion de Balzac in Paris. That exhibition, “Moi, Eugénie Grandet” took place November 2, 2010 to February 7, 2011, and included an accompanying catalogue with an essay by Jean Frémon.
In this composition, plates A and B were printed on two separate sheets and mounted on a single panel. The gap between the plates is filled with additional linework in pencil.
Left side: I have never grown up I am standing near the window I have spent my life making curtains to hide the dirty glass I have spent my life making curtains while watching the building across the way I have spent my life waiting I have spent my life washing dishes and vegetables I have spent my life going up and down I have spent my life afraid of the cold letting out waists and shortening dresses I have spent my life listening to the chirping of the birds the water dripping from the ceiling and the traffic on 20th street I have listened to the sound of the pigeons The hesitations of the mice and the bees and the flies before summer I have spent my life smelling the burning of the stove and listening to the starting of the refrigerator
Right side: The telephone may be out of order The door bell may be broken Has the mail man come? I have spent my life making openwork pulling threads for the bed sheets and table clothes I have spent my life making a trousseau I who has never been trussed up I give humour not pity I am not stupid I am only unhappy fearful foolish a washer woman I have spent my life washing socks and handkerchiefs
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