Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 1.1/I


Version 1 of 2, state I of II
c. 1948
Alternate Title:
Buttress; Structure; Échafaudage (Scaffolding); Pas de Géant (An Apparatus); Agrès à Antony (Gym Apparatus in Antony)
Descriptive Title:
English translation: "Spider"
Architecture, Spiders
Engraving, Etching
Soft ground etching and engraving, with pencil additions
Smooth, wove paper
plate: 5 15/16 x 3 1/8" (15.1 x 8 cm); sheet: 6 11/16 x 5 1/8" (17 x 13 cm)
"L. Bourgeois." lower left margin, pencil.
The artist at Atelier 17, New York
1 known impression of version 1, state I
Not numbered
Edition Information:
Not issued as a published edition at any state.
State Changes and Additions:
Additions in pencil: horizon line, anticipating version 2.
Artist’s Remarks:
"The crafty spider, hiding and waiting, is wonderful to watch. The children and I would watch nature." She added: "I am not talking about the Black Spider that lives in the earth, I am talking about air spiders, tree spiders, or house spiders." Discussing the family's country house in Easton, she said: "We suffered from mosquitoes. The only help was the spider. The spider is a friend." In a more general way, she thought about "making a list and collecting my friends.... One needs all the friends one can get. I still feel that way."

Bourgeois related this print to a recent sculpture that she derived from the spider. "It is eleven feet high and made from metal. It is a parent with a child underneath."

The titles "Agrès à Antony" and "Pas de Géant" refer to a gym apparatus that was in the yard of Bourgeois's childhood home in Antony. "We had loads of apparatus at Antony. My father appreciated good health because my mother was always sick. He was worried... he didn't want the children to be sick." Bourgeois remembered being quite good at all the exercises on the equipment. (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 133.)
Curatorial Remarks:
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 64
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:

c. 1948

First Version

Louise Bourgeois. Araignée. c. 1948
Version 1 of 2, state I of II
c. 1948
Louise Bourgeois. Araignée. c. 1948
Version 1 of 2, state II of II
c. 1948

Second Version

Louise Bourgeois. Araignée. c. 1948
Version 2 of 2, only state, variant
c. 1948
Louise Bourgeois. Araignée. c. 1948
Version 2 of 2, only state, variant
c. 1948