Louise Bourgeois

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					Louise Bourgeois

Alyssa Heater Art 1E History of Women In Art 5/7/2009

Heater 1

Louise Bourgeois is an extraordinary woman artist. She today resides in New York City and has many magnificent masterpiece works of art. Each one of her sculptures has a strong statement. She is very deep with her art work and very expressive. Louise is known for her marvelous sculptures, but believe it or not this woman started her career drawing! Louise Bourgeois is a very strong and driven woman, she proves that women can achieve anything they want to. The two learning objectives in my essay will be for the reader to be aware of 1. Louise’s major accomplishments in her career as a sculptor and 2. Her transformation from drawing to sculpting with an emphasis on her personal life as well. Louise was born in France in 1911. Throughout her young childhood she developed a talent for craft and an appreciation for aesthetics. Louise was left with her mother after her father left for the war. Louise did not start studying art until the age of twenty five. She learned how to paint at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Heller 139). Louise is a major artist that was a part of the second half of the twentieth and early twenty first centuries. Louise spent her childhood in Choisy-le-roy, France and her parents owned a tapestry restoration business. Louise helped decide on different designs for her parents business, she started this at age eleven. In the early 1930’s, Louise attended the School of Fine Arts and various art academies (Centrepromidou) “Painting does not exist for me,” says Louise, she says that she is more attracted to the “physical aspects of sculpture” this is what shows her strong expression of emotions, which is her famous artistic approach (Centrepromidou). Heater 2 In 1938 Louis met famous art historian, Robert Goldwater. She ended up getting

married and moved to the United States. (Louise Bourgeois) In 1945, her first solo exhibition in New York was shown presenting twelve paintings. Louise was well known for her major famine themes in her drawings and paintings. The Femme-Maison (house-woman) is one of her feminine paintings. In this painting it shows a woman’s body and a house on the top of her figure. It shows a female body that lacks arms carrying a grey house. The female genitals represent a flower (Centrepromidou).

Figure 1 Femme-maison, 1946-1947

It was not until 1947 when Louise began deciding to sculpt, creating different types of wood figures. Bourgeois said that sculpting helped her cope with leaving France and all of her family members. Louise centered most of her art around her emotions, she Heater 3 also stated that sculpture was an interrelationship with the environment and the

imagination (Centrepromidou). Louise had her first one-woman show at the Peridot Gallery in 1949. This is where she displayed one of her greatest works, The Blind Leading The Blind, which were several pairs of different colored posts connected together by a horizontal lintel (Heller 139). In the early 1960’s Bourgeois began to try a new type of sculpture, instead of using wood to work with, she tried using new flexible materials. Plaster really began to attract her along with latex which helped with one her projects called “The Nest.” With Plaster she was able to produce many different shapes, she loved making different body parts for her sculptures. Different parts of the body such as the breasts and penis are constantly appearing in her work. Janus Fleuri, 1968 is a sculpture of two flaccid penise’s linked by a central unit object that looks like a feminine body part and has pubic hair. This sculpture is both masculine and feminine (Centrepromidou).

Figure 2 Janus fleuri, 1968

In the 1960’s Louise began to experiment with many different types of materials such as; plaster, latex, rubber, bronze and even marble. One of my favorite masterpieces’ of Louise Bourgeoisies’ work was The Cell, Heater 4 1990-1993. It was made of pink marble, metal and glass. Bourgeois calls The Cell “the

smallest biological unit that constitutes our bodies as well as to the home, the refuge and the family, the cells represent two types of pain: physical, emotional and psychological, mental and intellectual. Each cell deals with fear. Fear is also pain and each cell deals with the thrill of being looked at.” States Louise (Centrepromidou). Cell is a structure of large cages. You are able to see through the piece and it shows her home in Choisy-le-roy. The home is made of pink marble. Above you can see a guillotine blade hanging. This is assumed to be there because the guillotine was a huge part of France history. The guillotine explains that “people guillotine each other in a family.” Louise says “The past is guillotined by the present.” This sculpture allowed Louise to remember her past and life as a child (Centrepromidou).

Figure 3 Cell (Choisy), 1990-1993 Heater 5 Spider, 1997 made of steel, tapestry, wood, glass, fabric, silver, gold and bone is

an amazing work of art! Louise interprets the spider as her mother. Louise describes her mother as a rational and reassuring friend of hers (Louise Bourgeois). Louise lost her mother when she was twenty one years old. After just a few days of her mothers death, Louise tried to drown herself in the Bievre River but her father saw her and swam to her rescue (Centrepromidou). Spider has been displayed with texts saying “The Friend (the spider, why the spider?) Louise answers, “Because my mother was intelligent, patient, clean and useful and reasonable just like a spider. She was also capable of defending herself.” The spider spinning it’s web supposedly indicated her mother spinning tapestries at work while Louise was a young child (Louise Bourgeois).

Figure 4 Spider, 1997

Red Room (Parents), 1994 was a creation that really was a deep and emotional creation for Louise. This is a work showing two parallel areas as “Red Room child” and Heater 6 “Red Room Parents”. She explains that the parents bedroom is “off limits.” Freud said that this room was interpreted to children if they witnessed it or just fantasized about it

that it was always an act of violence that the child pictured within their parents bedroom (Centrepromidou). The room shows a red bed. Louise says that violence, anxiety and mystery are all feelings in this room. On the bed Louise has a children’s train and a musical instrument on the bed which are created to create peace and a serene feeling in the household, but then there is a unusual rubber finger with a sharp pin stuck to it that protrudes from the bed. It was found that the threads, spools, needles and pins were referred to her mothers occupation. The Reticent Child, 2003 was made of six elements in fabric, marble, stainless steel and aluminum. This creation was said that it was suppose to portray the different family roles within a household. Louise says that this creation was an inspiration from her relationship with her son Alain. Fabric and marble are the two materials that are used to create the figures (Centrepromidou).There are a total of five figures in pink woolen fabric and a sixth on a bed in a skin colored marble color. This sculpture was made to show “shadows” from the past and it is very hard to understand what exactly is the time period that this work of art is suppose to have taken place. Louise has made many different creations for our viewing in the art world. She is a very unique and mysterious person. “Louise does not separate her life as an artist and as the memories that affect her everyday life.” (Louise Bourgeois) Louise had no idea that she wanted to be an artist, she actually doubted herself and did not believe that she had it in her to be an artist. When I found this out about her I kind of related to her. I Heater 7 doubt myself when it comes to a lot of new experiences in life. She just wanted to please

everyone and be the most perfect person that she could be. She would withdraw her grief and admitted to going to bed for a long time and crying herself to sleep. “Crying at night is good, nobody can hear you. We can all be together if we are crying together.” Sadness and Fear that we experience, Fear makes the world go around (Louise Bourgeois). “Emotions make her feel nervous. She calls them demons for her to handle, so she transfers her feelings into sculpture.” Although Louise is greatly involved in the gender works of art and has proven to be a very driven and independent woman she states clearly “I am not a feminist!” (Louise Bourgeois) Louise has been through a lot in her ninety eight years of life. She has seen the world in may different times. She has shown us that a woman can achieve anything at any age. At age seventy one Louise was the first woman to be honored with a major retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (Louise Bourgeois). After learning about Louise Burgouise I realized that her and I have some things about us that are very similar. She believes that there are two arrows in life, either left or right and I too agree with that. She always has stuck up for what she believed in regardless of what others may have said. She has achieved many great accomplishments in her lifetime and has a story to tell.

Heater 8 Works Cited Al, Ghafari, Iman. Gender Roles in Literature and The Media. 2008. Forward

Magazine <>. Gibbons, Sheila. Media and Gender Roles. 9 Sept. 2006. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc 13 Nov. 2008. <>. Grossman, Ana and Emma Peters-Axtell. Sisterhood is Forever. Washington Square Press New York, NY 2003. Grunberg, Jess. Media’s Influence on Raising Kids: Mom’s Sound Off!. 28 July. 2007. National Organization for Women. 13 Nov 2008 <>. Matlin, Margaret. Bimbo’s and Rambo’s: The Cognitive Basis of Gender Stereotypes. 7 2002. Psichi, The National Honor Society in Psychology. 13 Nov. 2008 <>. “Media Awareness Network” (2008) How the Media Define Masculinity. 12 Nov. 2008 <>.

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Description: A research paper about artist Louise Bourgeois.