Bourgeois was often inspired by the subjects of early drawings when creating works at much later dates. This 1994 portfolio is an example of a project based primarily on drawings from the 1940s and referring to her life in New York at that time. The exceptions are as follows: plate 1, based on a drawing from 1986 that references childbirth; plates 4 and 9, based on drawings from the 1940s but depicting memories of her childhood years in France; plate 11, most probably based on a drawing from the 1940s of a European hotel desk.
While looking at state III of this composition prior to its inclusion in the portfolio "Autobiographical Series," Bourgeois recalled, "This is a girlhood memory... but it is only a partial recall... some things are missing. Where is the pail for emptying the water? And where is the table that the bowl could fit down in? We also used a big tub, with handles, on the floor. But she is more interested in the pleasure element than in the cleaning element... this is about the beautiful hair, of course.... The little face looking in... he is not laughing at her... he is looking at her because she is beautiful. But he cannot pull a fast one on anybody... his face is registered there in the mirror!" (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 233.)
Of the 14 plates in "Autobiographical Series," Bourgeois titled plates 6 and 12. The untitled plates have been assigned descriptive titles for cataloguing purposes.
The alternate title "Spying" was given by the artist, as cited in Wye and Smith, The Prints of Louise Bourgeois, 1994, p. 233.
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 149
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
This Work in Other Collections:
Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Québec Museu da Gravura Cidade de Curitiba, Brazil Tate Modern, London
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