The series of installation sets “La Rivière Gentille” (1-3) is not a traditional edition in that each set is unique. Each set has a different number of sheets and is comprised of different etchings and drawings.
All three sets incorporate plates 1-7 that when printed together form the tall, vertical composition "Look Up!” seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below. Plates 1-7 are numbered according to their position from top to bottom in “Look Up!,” the only composition that uses all seven plates. Of the seven plates, only plates 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 are used in “La Rivière Gentille.” Throughout the series, the unique variants combine two to four plates, which are printed side by side horizontally to appear seamless.
The unique variants of plates 1-7 in “La Rivière Gentille” are in the same Evolving Composition Diagram as “Look Up!” They are organized in rows according to the combination of plates used. The etchings in set 3 only use these plates, while sets 1 and 2 incorporate etchings that also appear in other series and editions.
In set 2, the 17 of 48 panels that include etching are: Nos. 2, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 27, 31, 35, 36, 37, 39, and 40.
Proximity to rivers was of importance to the Bourgeois family's tapestry restoration business. This connection to rivers remained with the artist long after her childhood and inspired a number of projects, including "Point d'Ironie" and "Ode à la Bièvre," seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below.
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.
This sheet is one in a set of 48 sheets that constitutes a single work of art. All of these compositions are to be exhibited together in the indicated sequence, in consultation with the Louise Bourgeois Studio.
The mediums on this sheet could not be documented because this work is not in MoMA's Collection and could not be examined in person. The overall mediums for the set were provided by the Louise Bourgeois Studio.
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