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Louise Bourgeois

  • French artist
  • Born December 25, 1911
  • Died May 31, 2010

Louise Joséphine Bourgeois (French: [lwiz buʁʒwa] (listen); 25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010) was a French-American artist. Although she is best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art, Bourgeois was also a prolific painter and printmaker. She explored a variety of themes over the course of her long career including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the subconscious. These themes connect to events from her childhood which she considered to be a therapeutic process.


I know that when I finish a drawing, my anxiety level decreases. The realistic drawings are a way of pinning down an idea. I don't want to loose it. With the abstract drawings, when I'm feeling loose, I can slip into the unconscious.




I have drawn my whole life. My parents were in the tapestry restoration business, and as a young girl, I would draw in the missing parts of the tapestry that needed to be rewoven.




To express your emotions, you have to be very loose and receptive. The unconscious will come to you if you have that gift that artists have. I only know if I'm inspired by the results.




I have kept a diary as long as I can remember, and drawings are really another kind of diary.




My childhood has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.




I don't watch TV. I don't use a computer, a fax or a cellphone.




My art is a form of restoration in terms of my feelings to myself and to others.




I was a 'runaway girl' from France who married an American and moved to New York City. I'm not sure I would have continued as an artist had I remained in Paris because of the family setup.




Tell your own story, and you will be interesting.

Tell your own story, and you will be interesting.




I was raised a Catholic. But I am not religious. In my work, I am interested in real flesh and blood.




Even though what I do does enter the market, it doesn't interest me. I am exclusively concerned with the formal qualities of my work. It is about the need and the right to self-expression.




Look at it this way - a totem pole is just a decorated tree. My work is a confessional.




When my mother died, I fell apart. My father wanted to control me. As a consequence, I ran away to America.




Space is something that you have to define. Otherwise, it is like anxiety, which is too vague. A fear is something specific. I like claustrophobic spaces, because at least then you know your limits.



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