The source of Bourgeois's imagery is an illustration from an early twentieth-century textbook on psychological illnesses, which she photocopied, traced, and then scratched on the plate. She rejected it because it was not her own image and she was not satisfied with it. She would later create Arched Figure, seen below in Related Works in the Catalogue, on the same theme.
"This is a feminist statement. It is a document which proves the prejudice of Charcot." (Jean-Martin Charcot [1825-1893], considered the father of modern neurology, was also the teacher of Sigmund Freud.) "For Charcot," Bourgeois said, "the arched body... the hysterical woman... was a subject of entertainment... she was made to be ridiculous and laughable. And hysterical people were always thought to be women. But that is a superstition! This document shows that men were also hysterical. I am trying to prove a point here. Charcot made fun of women... like my father made fun of me." (Quote cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. “The Prints of Louise Bourgeois.” New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 244.)
An amendment has been made to the cataloguing of this composition in Wye and Smith, "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois," 1994, p. 244. What was previously considered a second state is now considered a cancellation proof, and has not been included in this catalogue. The cancellation proof is in MoMA's Collection (Accession Number: 547.1993). What was labeled state I is now considered the only state.
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