Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books
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Compositions (1,574)
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Bourgeois made use of hard ground etching relatively infrequently. Its fluid linearity appealed to her less than the more irregular effects of drypoint. Also, she preferred to stay away from acid, which is needed for incising etched lines into metal plates once they are drawn. In the 1940s, Bourgeois employed etching only on occasion. In the late 1980s, she was encouraged to take it up again by publisher Ben Shiff of Osiris and made a number of prints in the technique, working with Wingate Studio in Hinsdale, NH.

In her early period of printmaking, Bourgeois worked also in soft ground etching, a technique that usually involves drawing compositions on paper laid over plates covered in a waxy ground. Soft ground can capture the subtle qualities of pencil or crayon lines and, in the last decade of her life, again working with Shiff, Bourgeois took advantage of its potential for a major series of works, printed with Wingate Studio. The publisher supplied her with long narrow plates that fit her work table, and she worked on them easily with her drawing tools. Some of the soft ground etchings that resulted were editioned; others became the basis of unique works with hand additions and, sometimes, collage elements.

Ambition Shadowless. 1989. Etching
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