Thursday, June 10, 2010

Louise Joséphine Bourgeois


Louise Joséphine Bourgeois (25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010) was a renowned French-American artist and sculptor, best known for the spider structures, titled Maman. These pieces led to her being nicknamed the Spiderwoman. She is recognized today as the founder of confessional art.

In the late 1940s, after moving to New York City with her American husband, Robert Goldwater, she turned to sculpture.
Though her works are abstract, they are suggestive of the human figure and express themes of betrayal, anxiety, and loneliness. Her work was wholly autobiographical, inspired by her childhood trauma of discovering that her English governess was also her father’s mistress.
Louise Bourgeois spent her childhood in Choisy-le-Roi where her parents ran a tapestry restoration business. From the age of eleven, Louise helped with the job of drawing the motifs. The thread used to restore the tapestries can be metaphorically compared to the line of the drawing. As Marie-Laure Bernadac points out in her book Louise Bourgeois, La création contemporaine [Louise Bourgeois, Contemporary Creation] (Flammarion, 2006, first edition, 1995), her first automatic drawings are associated with primitive scenes of childhood, birth, and maternity. Though less immediate, painting was nevertheless one of the means of expression favoured by the artist up until the late 1940s.
In the early 1930s, Louise Bourgeois attended the School of Fine Arts and various art academies, including the Grande Chaumière, where her teacher Fernand Léger detected her vocation of sculptor. “Painting does not exist for me”, declares the artist, claiming to be attracted more by the “physical aspect of sculpture” which alone enables her the expression of emotions, the goal of her artistic approach, releasing and overcoming fear by giving form to the affect.
In 1938, she met the art historian Robert Goldwater. They married and went to live in the United States. In her first solo exhibition in 1945 in New York she presented twelve paintings. In 1947, one of the major themes of her work appeared in her drawing and painting: the femme-maison [house-woman].
Bourgeois died on 31 May 2010, at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City at the age of 98 from a heart attack. Wendy Williams, the managing director of the Louise Bourgeois Studio, announced the news of Bourgeois' death.She had continued to create artwork until her death, her last pieces were finished the week before.
The New York Times said that her work "shared a set of repeated themes, centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world".
Thank you, Truus

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