Louise Bourgeois is a French sculptor and visual artist known worldwide for her monumental installations, paintings and engraving.
She was born in 1911 in Paris, in a family of craftsmen and dealers of antique tapestries. Thanks to her parents’ trade, she became familiar with the manual arts at a very young age, helping them with their various daily tasks.
While enrolled at the Lycée Fénelon in Paris, Louise Bourgeois showed a talent for science from an early age. It was for this reason that she decided to study Mathematics at the Sorbonne University in Paris after her baccalaureate.
Nevertheless, she returned to her artistic side a little later by beginning her studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1936, she continued her studies at the Ecole du Louvre.
During this same period, Louise Bourgeois began to frequent Parisian salons and studios and became familiar with the closed circle of artists of the time. There she met personalities such as André Lhote, Fernand Léger, Yves Tanguy and Joan Miró.
After this Parisian period, which considerably influenced the visual artist, Louise Bourgeois nevertheless spent most of her life in the United States, in New York after marrying Robert Goldwater in 1938.
For Louise Bourgeois, “Painting doesn’t exist”. She said she was rather attracted by the “physical aspect of sculpture” which is more liberating through the shaping of the object we represent.
When she began designing her sculptures, Louise Bourgeois was constantly inspired by elements of her personal and private life. She describes her work as truly therapeutic.
Louise Bourgeois’ artistic career took off in the United States. She abandons her brushes for a while in favour of other materials. We find marble, plaster and latex in particular.
The 1940s in the artist’s work took the form of “women-houses”, mixing the body with architecture, the living with graphics, as can be seen in her work: Ensemble de femmes-maisons, created between 1945 and 1947.
In the 1950s, she began to create her famous “totems”, which she would later call her “characters”. Among her best-known achievements, we also find Cumul I, created in 1969.
Starting in the 1970s, the essential themes of her work were sexuality, motherhood, femininity and the body. They were already present in the artist’s creations but became at the heart of his thinking, with a certain renewal. For Louise Bourgeois, art is the place where sexual impulses are expressed and embellished.
In her work, Louise Bourgeois draws much inspiration from the significant events of her personal life in addition to the above-mentioned inspirations.
In the 1990s, the artist developed a particular attraction for the emblematic figure of the spider. It will become the focus of her work for some time. One of his emblematic sculptures is The Spider, created in 1997, and Maman in 1999. The artist associates it with the symbol of her mother, whom she lost very fast at the age of 21. The Spider is intelligence, patience, work and the indispensable, referring to her mother’s work in tapestries as a child.
In addition, Louise Bourgeois also developed an interest in the textile industry, also a legacy of her past and the work of her parents. It is at the end of her life, starting in the 1990s, that the use of textile materials will occupy a predominant place in the artist’s work. The installations Pink Days and Blue Days are a perfect illustration of this. The work created is a suspension of old adult and children’s clothing on a steel structure and bones acting as hangers. This is what will lead her, in 2001, to undertake textile artists’ book projects.
An artist who inspires us!
Louise Bourgeois’ work as an artist is recognized late in life, but despite this, she is now considered very influential on the generations of artists that followed, especially women.
In 1990, Louise Bourgeois donated her prints to the Museum of Metropolitan Art (MOMA) in New York. She died a few years later at the age of 98.
Many tributes are paid to her. For example, she received the Legion of Honor in 2008 and was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009 for having marked the history of the United States of America.
Singular and unclassifiable, Louise Bourgeois has profoundly marked the history of Contemporary Art. She nowadays continues to arouse curiosity throughout the world.
At D’ESTRËE, Art and Design occupy a major place. It is the main source of inspiration for the designer Géraldine for the elaboration of all new collections of graphic and contemporary accessories.
This is the reason why, today at D’ESTRËE, all the gold-plated brass rings bear the name Louise. This is a tribute to this artist and her work, which marked the 20th and 21st century.
Discover our collection of Louise rings by clicking here!
Picture 1 : credits : https://livre.fnac.com/a9838403/Robert-Storr-Louise-Bourgeois-Geometries-intimes
Photo 3 : credits : https://mapetitehistoiredelart.com/2016/03/28/louise-bourgeois/