Abstract PaintingsShawn McNulty Abstract Paintings

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois was born on December 25th, 1911 in Paris, France. At age 12, she helped with her parents' tapestry business by drawing the missing segments of the fabric patterns, which would then be rewoven. Her studies of geometry at age 15 contributed to her early artistic vision in her cubist drawings.  She furhtured her art education at the École du Louvre and then the École des Beaux-Arts.  After that, she worked as an assistant to the French artist Fernand Léger. Bourgeois moved to New York City with her American husband in 1938 to continuelouise bourgeois art artist photo her studies at the Art Students League of New York. Her earliest exhibition occured in 1947 and consisted of tunnel sculptures and wooden figures.  Despite early critical success in that show, with one of the works being purchased for the Museum of Modern Art, Bourgeois was passed over by the art market during the 1950s and 1960s. 

It was in the 1970s, after the deaths of her husband and father, that she became a successful artist.  She received major International success in the 1990s, representing the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1993, and taking part in the Melbourne International Biennial in 1999. Also in 1999, Bourgeois was the first artist commissioned to fill the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London.

She is best known for her cells and spiders. She speaks of her art in symbolic terms, and the main theme is relationships, especially considering an organism in relation to its environment.  Bourgeois conveys emotions of resentment, betrayal and jealousy, but with playful tone. Her sculpture media includes wood, stone, rubber, metal, and appropriately, fabric. Some of her works contain erotic images, with a motif of cumuls, which she named the round figures because they reminded her of cumulus clouds. Her most famous works are the spider structures, titled Maman, from the last fifteen years. Maman now stands outside the Tate Modern in London.



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