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Louise Bourgeois

1911 Paris
2010 New York

The contemporary sculptress Louise Bourgeois was born on 25th December 1911 in Paris. Her parents, who ran a historical tapestry restoration workshop in Choisy- le- Roi, recognised their daughter’s artistic talent when she was still young. They employed her in the workshop where she corrected graphic flaws in the textiles. After finishing school, Louise Bourgeois studied maths and geometry at the Sorbonne. In the mid-1930s, she applied to study at various art schools, and became a student of Ferdinand Léger. During this time, Bourgeois met the American art historian Robert Goldwater, whom she later married, and in 1938, they moved to New York together. Louise Bourgeois continued her artistic studies at the Art Students’ League until 1940.
She then devoted herself to painting, primarily focussing on the themes of family, and her role as a woman and mother. She also made installations that dealt with these themes sculpturally. Louise Bourgeois experimented with a wide range of materials, including wood, bronze, steel, cloth, plaster, plastic and latex. She repeatedly returned to her childhood experiences, and the memories of her hated governess -her father’s mistress - as subjects for her sculpture. From 1966, her work became increasingly influenced by feminist discourse.
The international art world did not recognise Louise Bourgeois’ work until the late 1970s, when she became an impotent figure in the New York art scene. In 1982, at the age of 71, Bourgeois had her first large retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which honoured her work for its contribution to post-war American art. Seven years later, Louise Bourgeois had her first European retrospective at the "Frankfurter Kunstverein" and finally received international recognition. In 1992 she took part in "documenta IX", and a year later, the Venice Biennial. Louise Bourgeois currently leads a reclusive life in New York.

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