Oct 22, 2014



c. 1950

Louise Bourgeois

(American, 1911–2010)

Brush and black ink and gray wash, with white paint and traces of black chalk(?) and blue crayon

Support: Board faced with clay-coated white paper, with collage of cream wove paper

Sheet: 55.9 x 71.2 cm (22 x 28 1/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1998.112


Did you know?

Louise Bourgeois made many drawings throughout her career but kept them in her studio for decades, rarely exhibiting them.


Throughout most of the 20th century, Louise Bourgeois used abstract art as a means to explore her own subconscious and autobiography. This drawing dates from a period during which the artist developed a vocabulary of expressive lines—typically parallel marks and closely spaced hatching—to convey both compulsion and movement. It belongs to a series that Bourgeois titled "skein" drawings, referring to their long thin lines that suggest thread and the texture of weaving. This symbolism was personally significant, as the artist's family sold and restored tapestries and she first learned to draw while assisting in their workshop. She also compared the rolling forms in drawings such as this to the raw power of water, both within nature and in the context of spa treatments her mother received at a spa for emphysema around this time, adding further meaning to the sheet.

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