8 known impressions of the only state, outside the edition
Proof before the editioning of the only state.
In the 1970s, Bourgeois spent some time teaching, notably at The School of Visual Arts and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, in Manhattan, and at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She most likely printed her works from this period in the print workshops at the schools where she taught.
In 1990, this plate was reprinted by Piero Crommelynck, Paris, at the direction of Galerie Lelong, Paris, at the same time as those from the 1940s that were being considered for their "Quarantania" portfolio, seen below in Related Works in the Catalogue. It was issued separately because it is not from the 1940s.
The 1990 reprints differ in appearance from the c. 1974 impressions, due to corrosion of the plates and accidental scratching over time. Also, professional printing with uniform inking and wiping creates a darker plate tone.
"This is very friendly. The spirals function in space... they can organize themselves and relate to each other... they can dance... they are at ease. But there are two kinds of spirals... starting at the outer, or starting inside. You can expand outward, because the present is unbearable... you can escalate in your vision to avoid what is at the center. But if you go outward and there is no limit, you can go too high... you can go crazy. This can be a metaphor for ambition that knows no limit. You must know your limits.... But there are dangers either way. If you go inward, you will wind tighter, like the spring of a watch. This is dangerous because you can get twisted, strangled by your emotions... you can snap, or you can throw up! What do people do under intense emotions?" (Quote cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 141.)
Due to variant inking, the small dot located to the left or right of the largest spiral (depending on the orientation), which is visible in both the variant impression outside the edition and the published impression, is barely perceptible in this impression.
Former Cat. No.:
W & S 67
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
This Work in Other Collections:
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA The National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design, Oslo, Norway Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska
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