Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 509/II


State II of III
Descriptive Title:
English translation: "Lady"
Engraving, Relief
Engraving, printed in relief, with pink, orange, yellow, blue, green and red crayon and black ink additions
Smooth, wove paper
plate: 7 3/16 x 4 3/16" (18.2 x 10.6 cm); sheet: 9 1/16 x 5 1/8" (23 x 13 cm)
"Louise Bourgeois" lower left margin, pencil.
The artist at Atelier 17, New York
1 known impression of state II
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Not issued as a published edition at any state.

State III was reprinted in 1990 for possible inclusion in "Quarantania" portfolio, but rejected due to flattening of the lead plate.
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from state I, in engraving: outline of skirt, and hat added; shape added in right side of skirt.
Additions in black ink: decorative pattern added to lower right corner of skirt outline.
Artist’s Remarks:
In an interview for the 1994 catalogue, "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois," the artist responded immediately to the figure's long hair, seen in state III. The hair is "to hide yourself in." She pointed out that the figure itself comes to a point, showing that she is extremely vulnerable. "Anyone can push her." But since her hair is so long, it will help support her. Bourgeois also noted how "very fashionable" this figure is. "This is not a girl, the hat is more formal than a girl would wear. The skirt is a bouffant... After the war, a designer named Claire McCardell came out with the bouffant. It was a reaction against the necessary thriftiness with material during the war."
(Quote cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 114.)
Curatorial Remarks:
It appears that the 1948 impressions of this composition, printed in relief, were not run through a press. For the 1990 variant impression, the plate was inked as a traditional intaglio plate, left unwiped, and run through the press. This difference is most apparent in the plate mark and enlarged plate dimensions, both unique to the 1990 variant impression. The soft lead plate was flattened (and therefore enlarged) by the press.

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.
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 49
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:

1948; reprinted 1990


Louise Bourgeois. Dame. 1948
State I of III
Louise Bourgeois. Dame. 1948
State II of III
Louise Bourgeois. Dame. 1948
State III of III
Louise Bourgeois. Dame. 1948, reprinted 1990
State III of III, variant
1948, reprinted 1990