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Louise Bourgeois

BIOGRAPHY

1911 - 2010

 

Louis Bourgeois was an American sculptor, painter and printmaker, born in Paris in 1911. Her artwork is greatly influenced by her traumatic childhood. Bourgeois’s tumultuous childhood was due to growing up during WWI, the loss of her brother, her mother’s illness, and her father’s infidelity.

Working in her parents tapestry factory, Louise helped draw missing segments of the tapestries, which would then be rewoven. She attended school at the Lycee Fenelon in Paris and then attended the Sorbonne. In 1938, she immigrated to the United States and continued her studies at the Art Students League in New York. Though her beginnings were as an engraver and painter, by the 1940s she had turned her attention to sculptural work, for which she is recognized as a twentieth-century leader. Greatly influenced by the influx of European Surrealist artists who immigrated to the United States after World War II, Bourgeois’ early sculpture was composed of groupings of abstract and organic shapes, often carved from wood.

By the 1960s, she began to execute her work in rubber, bronze, and stone, and the pieces themselves became larger, more referential to what has become the dominant theme of her work - her traumatic childhood, conveying feelings of anger, betrayal and jealousy stemming from her father’s adultery. Her works are sometimes abstract, and she often speaks in symbolic terms

Bourgeois died of heart failure on 31 May 2010, and her work continues to be shown worldwide.