Louise Bourgeois (American, born France. 1911–2010)
Bourgeois's activity as publisher and printer differed in her two primary periods of printmaking: 1939–49 and 1989–2010. In the early phase, Bourgeois served as her own printer, at the Art Students League for lithography and at Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17 for intaglio. She also made prints at home, experimenting briefly with woodcut and linoleum cut and then purchasing her own press for intaglio printing.
At that time, conventional publishing was not a consideration, since Bourgeois was little known as an artist and, in addition, the print publishing apparatus in New York was modest at best. In any case, she was not thinking about editions. Printmaking was an experimental medium for her, serving as an offshoot of painting and drawing. When, in the later 1940s, she created the now-celebrated illustrated book He Disappeared into Complete Silence, she took on the task of publisher, underwriting the project, designing the housing, and attempting distribution; it met with little success. Soon after, she turned definitively to sculpture, and her work in printmaking stopped altogether.
By the late 1980s, Bourgeois was a well-known artist who attracted the attention of a number of publishers and printers. Soon her natural inclination toward printmaking, dormant for so many years, was reawakened and once again became an everyday activity. Her home, not any workshop, became the site of her collaborations. In the last years, she also brought in a seamstress, Mercedes Katz, who helped with the sewing of her fabric works. Occasionally, late in her life and for the sake of expedience, Bourgeois served as her own publisher under the name of Lison Editions. The word "Lison" was one of her childhood nickames; others were Lise, Lisette, Louison, and Louisette.