Bourgeois remembered that this was a plate that started as a workshop test. "Hayter would talk and talk about the turning of the plate. What flourish!"
She made the plate into a landscape. Looking at it in 1993, she saw the mountains from which the Creuze River flows. The Creuze is one of the rivers that was important to her. Aubusson lies on the Creuze, and during World War I, "my mother parked us children in Aubusson with the widow of my uncle, who had been killed in the war." Bourgeois stayed in Aubusson until 1918. "It was the safest place in France."
In this landscape Bourgeois also saw a shape that she calls an egg. "The egg is found in the ground. It is a secret of nature. There are a lot of secrets." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 131.)
In the second half of the 1940s, Bourgeois spent time at Atelier 17, the print workshop of Stanley William Hayter. The workshop had transferred operations from Paris to New York during the war years. It is not known precisely which prints she made at the workshop since she also worked at home on a small press. The designation of “the artist at Atelier 17” as printer means that the impression was likely made at the workshop. The designation is based on dates, inscriptions, techniques favored at Atelier 17, and/or stylistic similarities to images in the illustrated book “He Disappeared into Complete Silence,” which the artist repeatedly cited as having been made at Atelier 17. It is also possible that Bourgeois worked on certain plates both at home and at the workshop, or pulled impressions at both places.
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