Proximity to rivers was of importance to the Bourgeois family's tapestry restoration business. This connection to rivers remained with the artist long after her childhood and inspired a number of projects, including "Ode à la Bièvre" and "Point d'ironie," both seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below.
According to Felix Harlan, of Harlan & Weaver, New York, Bourgeois's map compositions stem from her desire to sort through memories and associations with different places. The artist used preexisting maps as references for her own abstracted compositions, excluding the information essential to map reading. In this way, the maps served more as personal documents for the artist, rather than as references or guides.
This composition was executed on a scrap metal plate found in Bourgeois's basement studio. The plate was engraved and printed in relief because the lead material was too soft to withstand the heavy pressure of the press.
The artist first had test printings made of two potential plates to see their texture. A smaller plate was printed on both sides and was rejected for use. A test printing of a larger plate was deemed satisfactory, and the artist proceeded with the composition on that plate, seen here.
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