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Artists Louise Bourgeois
Louise Bourgeois Photo

Louise Bourgeois

French-American Sculptor

Movements and Styles: Surrealism, Body Art, Installation Art, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: December 25, 1911 - Paris, France

Died: May 31, 2010 - New York, New York, USA

Louise Bourgeois Timeline

"Expose a contradiction, that is all you need."

Louise Bourgeois Signature

Summary

Louise Bourgeois's work, which spanned most of the 20th century, was heavily influenced by traumatic psychological events from her childhood, particularly her father's infidelity. Bourgeois's often brooding and sexually explicit subject matter and her focus on three-dimensional form were rare for women artists at the time. Beginning in the 1970s, she hosted Sunday salons in her Chelsea apartment, where students and young artists would take their work to be critiqued by Bourgeois, who could be ruthless and referred to the gatherings, with characteristically dry humor, as "Sunday, bloody Sunday". Nevertheless, this accessibility and willingness to advise younger artists was exceptional for an established artist of such standing. Her influence on other artists since the 1970s looms large, but is manifested most strongly in feminist-inspired body art and in the development of installation art.

Key Ideas

Bourgeois's artwork is renowned for its highly personal thematic content involving the unconscious, sexual desire, and the body. These themes draw on events in her childhood for which she considered making art a therapeutic or cathartic process.
Bourgeois transformed her experiences into a highly personal visual language through the use of mythological and archetypal imagery, adopting objects such as spirals, spiders, cages, medical tools, and sewn appendages to symbolize the feminine psyche, beauty, and psychological pain.
Through the use of abstract form and a wide variety of media, Bourgeois dealt with notions of universal balance, playfully juxtaposing materials conventionally considered male or female. She would, for example, use rough or hard materials most strongly associated with masculinity to sculpt soft biomorphic forms suggestive of femininity.
Louise Bourgeois Photo

Bourgeois' turbulent and traumatic experiences are interconnected with her later artistic explorations - as she once said: "I became an artist - to find a mode of survival."

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Louise Bourgeois
Interactive chart with Louise Bourgeois's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Odilon RedonOdilon Redon
Pierre BonnardPierre Bonnard
Max ErnstMax Ernst
Gertrude SteinGertrude Stein
John CageJohn Cage

Personal Contacts

Robert GoldwaterRobert Goldwater
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Peggy GuggenheimPeggy Guggenheim
Joan MirĂ³Joan MirĂ³

Movements

CubismCubism
ImpressionismImpressionism
ExpressionismExpressionism
SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Louise Bourgeois
Louise Bourgeois
Years Worked: 1938 - 2010
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Eva HesseEva Hesse
Louise NevelsonLouise Nevelson
Lynda BenglisLynda Benglis
The Guerrilla GirlsThe Guerrilla Girls
Sophie CalleSophie Calle

Personal Contacts

Lucy LippardLucy Lippard
Tracey EminTracey Emin

Movements

Feminist ArtFeminist Art
Installation ArtInstallation Art

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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First published on 24 May 2014. Updated and modified regularly.
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