The 4 impressions of varying states labeled "HC" in red ink, in the artist's hand, are not conventional H.C. impressions, which would be of the final state.
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from state I in drypoint: left eyelid reconfigured; some areas reinforced overall. Additions in red ink: arrows on eyelids; reinforced overall.
The publisher, Les Éditions du Solstice, a book collector's society, had issued Bourgeois's illustrated book, "Ode à ma mère," in 1995. Four years later, Jean-Claude Meyer, President of the society approached her with a second collaboration, to provide the frontispiece and sole illustration for a volume documenting their publications from 1989 until 1999. The result was state VI of this drypoint referencing poet and artist, Henri Michaux, which Bourgeois provided as a benefit print for the publisher.
This volume gives a history of Les Éditions du Solstice. It was founded under French law in 1901 to promote "bibliophilism", or the love and collection of books. Most of its members had previously received honorary titles such as "Legion d'honneur," "Ordre National du merite," and "Croiz de la Valeur Militaire." The full membership meets annually. Under its charter, the society publishes deluxe limited editions of illustrated literary works, with a new volume coming out every year or few years. The maximum edition is 120, and copies are distributed to the membership to encourage discussion.
This volume gives a full listing of the association's current membership and also celebrates the four books published between 1989-1999: "Les Eaux Etroites" by Julien Gracq, with illustratrations by Matta; "La Nouvelle chute de l'Amerique" by Allen Ginsberg, with illustrations by Roy Lichtenstein; "Ode à ma mère" written and illustrated by Bourgeois; and "Sans Titre" by Han Magnus Enzensberger, with illustrations by Markus Lupertz.
Inscribed on the recto of the source drawing: "Spinning Eyes of / Henri Michaux / Unblinking eyes / of the undefeated"; and on the verso: "What is the shape of a problem / unblinking eyes through a drop [illeg.]of history / gaze of De Lioze [illeg.]"
Bourgeois's inscription on the source drawing for this drypoint refers to Henri Michaux (1899-1984), a Belgian-born literary figure and artist, who later became a French citizen. According to Bourgeois's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, she met Michaux in Paris. Having always admired his writing, she asked Michaux why he had turned to drawings, which she did not like as much. Michaux told her it was the influence of drugs.
If you are interested in reproducing images from The Museum of Modern Art web site, please visit the Image Permissions page (www.moma.org/permissions). For additional information about using content from MoMA.org, please visit About this Site (www.moma.org/site).