Louise Bourgeois

Sculpture by Bourgeois in the Domestic Incidents group exhibit at London's Tate Modern Turbine Hall, 2006.

Louise Bourgeois (25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010) was an French-American artist and sculptor.


  • Women had to work like slaves in the art world, but a lot of men got to the top through their charm. And it hurt them. To be young and pretty didn't help a woman in the art world, because the social scene, and the buying scene, was in the hands of women – women who had money. They wanted male artists who would come alone and be their charming guests. Rothko could be very charming. It was a court. And the artist buffoons came to the court to entertain, to charm. Now it has changed, now the younger men are in – older women and younger men.
    • Louise Bourgeois, ‎Donald Burton Kuspit (1988). Bourgeois. p. 76: On the art world
  • Art is a guaranty of sanity.
    • Louise Bourgeois, "Art is a Guaranty of Sanity," title of 2000 drawing, Pencil on pink paper, 27.9 x 21.5 cm. Collection Museum of Modern Art, New York
    • Also found elsewhere as "Art is a guarantee(sic) of sanity, that is the most important thing I have said."

Louise Bourgeois: a web of emotions, 2010Edit

Adrian Searle, "Louise Bourgeois: a web of emotions,"In: The Guardian... June 1 and 12, 2010.

  • 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 re-woven. My ability to draw made me indispensable to my parents.
  • At the dinner table when I was very little, I would hear people bickering – the father saying something, the mother choosing to defend herself. To escape the bickering, I started modelling the soft bread with my fingers. With the dough of the French bread – sometimes it was still warm – I would make little figures. And I would line them up on the table and this was really my first sculpture.
  • England is very, very important to me, because in my family the English could do no wrong. When my father picked a mistress, it was always an English girl: if he made her pregnant, she could be shipped back to England and he would not be held responsible. It never happened, but I've made a lot of work called The English Can Do No Wrong.
  • I do not need the musing of the philosophers to tell me what I am doing. It would be more interesting to let me know why I am doing it.
  • The feminists took me as a role model, as a mother. It bothers me. I am not interested in being a mother. I am still a girl trying to understand myself.
  • What modern art means is that you have to keep finding new ways to express yourself, to express the problems, that there are no settled ways, no fixed approach. This is a painful situation, and modern art is about this painful situation of having no absolutely definite way of expressing yourself.
  • I came from a family of repairers. The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn't get mad. She weaves and repairs it.

Quotes on Louise BourgeoisEdit

  • I became aware of Louise Bourgeois in my first or second year at Brighton Art College. One of my teachers, Stuart Morgan, curated a small retrospective of her work at the Serpentine, and both he and another teacher, Edward Allington, saw something in her, and me, and thought I should be aware of her. I thought the work was wonderful. It was her very early pieces, The Blind Leading the Blind, the wooden pieces and some of the later bronze works. Biographically, I don't really think she has influenced me, but I think there are similarities in our work. We have both used the home as a kind of kick-off point, as the space that starts the thoughts of a body of work. I eventually got to meet Louise in New York, soon after I made House. She asked to see me because she had seen a picture of House in the New York Times while she was ironing it one morning, so she said. She was wonderful and slightly kind of nutty; very interested and eccentric. She drew the whole time; it was very much a salon with me there as her audience, watching her. I remember her remarking that I was shorter than she was. I don't know if this was true but she was commenting on the physicality of making such big work and us being relatively small women. When you meet her you don't know what's true, because she makes things up. She has spun her web and drawn people in, and eaten a few people along the way.

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