4 known variant impressions of version 3, only state, outside the edition
Proof before the editioning of version 3.
State Changes and Additions:
Matrices: The progression of version 3 of this composition, as seen in the Evolving Composition Diagram below, involved 9 plates. Plate 1: linear elements of the composition; printed in black. Plate 2: overall shading of background; printed in yellow, blue, or gray. Plate 3: shading of mattress; printed in yellow or red. Plate 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9: colored elements of bed frame and figures; printed in red, pink, light blue, dark blue, yellow, and gray, respectively.
Print State Changes: Plate 3 withheld. Changes from version 2, in lithography: composition transferred to a new plate; most shading removed from figures; underwear added to all figures.
"Eight in Bed" developed out of another composition with seven figures in a bed. That imagery dealt with a childhood memory of times when the artist and her two siblings, along with two cousins who lived with them, would join her parents in bed. According to Bourgeois's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, there was no specific symbolic meaning to the addition of thie eighth (and in some studies, ninth) figure; it was simply part of her further experimentation with the composition.
The photocopy studies for this composition indicate that it derived from the Untitled composition, plate 5, from the illustrated book "Metamorfosis" (seen below in Related Works in the Catalogue). The two compositions could have been catalogued as Versions in one Evolving Composition Diagram. They were catalogued separately because Untitled, plate 5, is from an illustrated book, making it difficult to present the two compositions as one.
According to the artist's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, the subject of beds stems not only from their symbolic resonance for Bourgeois but also from her interest in their geometric and architectural forms. The bed motif is found in Bourgeois's drawings, sculptures, and installations, as well as in her prints (see Related Works in Other Mediums).
In the opinion of printer Felix Harlan, of Harlan & Weaver, Bourgeois regarded intaglio as primarily a black and white medium, even though she did a number of multiple plate color etchings. In this case, she may have considered lithography to be most appropriate for the colorful final version of the composition.
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