Louise Bourgeois: a biography and creativity

discover one of the most interesting masters of the 20th century - Louise Bourgeois. Biography and work presented in this article. L. Bourgeois – American sculptor, graphic artist and painter of French origin. Louise – the artist, who mythologized his nightmares and obsessions, as well as the facts of his childhood. In her adult life had no real shocks, but Bourgeois continued to nurture the mental trauma that had plagued her from an early age.

Childhood and drama Louise

Louise was born in 1911 in Paris. The childhood of Bourgeois went to Aubusson, a French province. Here her family owned the shop for the restoration of tapestries. In adolescence Louise was given in the Lyceum of Fenelon – prestigious school. The girl was very close to his mother, Josephine. Luisa often helped her in the work: drawing, sewing, mending tapestries.
Relationship between the parents, the external well-being was far from ideal. Father Louise almost openly cheating on his wife with British – governess of their children. For a little girl this banal situation became a real drama. She was going through her whole life, and have rethought in the works. His father, Louise was considered a traitor. She even attempted to commit suicide after his mother's death.

study at University and private lessons

Louise Bourgeois in 1932, he enrolled in the Sorbonne. Here she studied philosophy, geometry and mathematics. In the same year, Bourgeois visited the Soviet Union. 1936 Louise became engaged in the art studios and schools of Paris. She attended the workshop of Constantin Brancusi, the great sculptor, who at the time was the iconic figure of the local avant-garde. Louise took lessons from Fernand Leger, the famous cubist. He praised her talent and encouraged the girl to study sculpture.

Marriage and the death of a spouse

an Important event in his personal life Louise took place in 1938 when she married Robert Goldwater, an American art historian and Harvard graduate. After the wedding, the young moved to new York. Here husband, Bourgeois began to work at the Museum of primitive art (he was appointed the first Director). Exemplary Union of loving each other creative people lasted until 1974, when Louise's husband also died. She bore him three sons.

Paintings and drawings by Louise

Bourgeois in the beginning of his artistic career to painting and drawing. In the series of works Femme Maison, created in 1945-1947, and Fallen Women (1946-1947), the artist used the technique of the Surrealists. She has fused together different objects: structures, similar to at home, and the female body. These works are a reflection of Louise about the role that women play in the family. Many define this role exclusively as a care home. However, the very Bourgeois claims that her work – a parody of surrealism, who tried to imagine a woman as a construction.

Appeal to sculpture

Louise in the 1940-ies focused on sculpture. She is considered one of the best artists of the 20th century. The first plastic experiments Louise noticeable influence of archaic Greek, located and African sculpture. They traced the impact of such greatest masters of the last century, such as Henry Moore, Constantin Bankasi and Alberto Giacometti which is also relied in his work on archaic plastic. Sculpture by Bourgeois in the beginning consisted of groups of organic and abstract forms, which were often made of wood.

"the Blind leading the blind"

"Blind leading the blind", founded in 1947, is one of the most famous works of Louise Bourgeois. It can be considered a direct roll with "the Parable of the blind", Pieter Bruegel the elder. The work of Louise design, consisting of 20 long pink props from wood, narrowing downwards, and at the top connected by a tie-bridge. The simplicity of this sculpture is discouraging, and a feeling of insecurity and instability captures. Bourgeois States that this work – just a reminiscence of a kid wanting to hide under the table when the family happen dining scandals.

New materials

In the 1960-ies in the sculptures of Louise began to use such materials as stone, bronze and latex. After visiting Italy they added the marble. In 1949, he was first exhibited sculpture by Bourgeois in new York, in the gallery, Perida.

interest in the darker side and sexuality

Louise is an artist-pastoralists, which declared itself in 1930-1940-ies. At that time already declined the French surrealist movement. Artists related to him, never created close-knit groups. They were not inclined to manifestos, broadcast programs and declarative statements. For the first time in a number of these artists was a group that was distinguished not only by interest in the "dark side" of intellectual and mental life peculiar romance, but also to the body, which was a manifestation of the "dark side." Therefore, sexuality for Louise associated with injury, and the painful search for self-identity, roles in relations between the sexes. In 1968, the Bourgeoisie introduced the 2 sculptures that are both shocking and ironic: "Blooming Janus" and "Girl".


It is made from latex giant phallus, swinging on a meat hook. This sculpture reflects a critical view of Louise Bourgeois to the iconography of the phallus and its associated male status. the Base of the sculpture can be read as a male testes, and female chest, rounded hips women, limiting the crotch.

"Blooming Janus"

"Blooming Janus" – work, which covers the connection of gender forms flowing into one another. In Latin, "Janus" means "pass", "arch". However, it is both two-faced God with one face turned to the past and the other looking to the future, janua – the divine gates, open in peacetime and closed during the wars. Solid Foundation of the sculpture is an image of two flaccid penises, which are connected to the Central element, almost shapeless, resembling pubic hair and the sex gap. The adjective "blooming" metaphor points to the genitals of both flavor and flowering. Men and women came together, as two faces. Two penis at the same time like on the women's buttocks, thighs and Breasts.

"Destruction of the Father"

Louise Bourgeois in 1974 completed its first installation. It opened a new stage in the creative biography of the master. In the work of Bourgeois "Destruction of the Father" sculptor implements complex plastic in the form of painful memories and instincts, living in the subconscious that are caused by a conflicting relationship with the father, weighed heavily on the author since childhood. The installation is a structure like a cave. Looks like the stones are surrounded by a sacrificial plate with scattered her body parts, including pieces of lamb that were purchased at the butcher shop.

This work Louise is very disturbing, reminiscent of the work Spanish artist Francisco Goya, who was very fond Bourgeois.


In the 1990-ies continues to work of Louise Bourgeois. Its activity is entering a new phase-the period of "cells". The artist is one of their goals was to create the environment that would be self-sufficient, independent from the Museum environment. In this environment you can enter. These constructions are a kind of isolation of the experience gained in the past. Cell (Choisy) – the cage is a marble sculpture of the house. Above it is placed a large guillotine. This sculpture recalls an episode from the nightmare.

Couple IV

the work of Louise Bourgeois of the later period include a number of goals, and figures made from fabric. They represent various degrees of despair and pain. For example, the 1997 Couple IV represents something resembling an old-fashioned display from the Museum. It shows two rag figures without heads, trying to make love.


the Installation "Spider" by Louise Bourgeois (photo below) became a symbol of the late work of this sculptor. It presents the exemplar of the perfect expressive and rational design, created by nature. In a symbolic vocabulary, Louise Bourgeois the spider does not carry any negative value. He associates with his mother Louise, smart, balanced, thoughtful, patient, insightful, sophisticated, useful, indispensable and neat as a spider. This insect is associated with the diligence of a mother and with the skilled craftsmanship of a weaver. One of the works on this subject created by Louise, and is called - "Mother". Monumental plastic form, made of bronze, its conciseness and the geometric simplicity of art demonstrate a characteristic of the Bourgeois sense of harmonic balance.

the First large exhibition

In 2000 the famous London Tate Modern gallery hosted the first major exhibition of Louise Bourgeois, which was called "I do, I destroy, I remake." It announced its existence to the national Museum. Louise became the first sculptor, whose works were placed in the new Bastion of modern art. The success of the exhibition was huge, and the selection of the master – is not accidental, as the works of Bourgeois in essence – the anthology of contemporary art.

the Exhibition "Louise Bourgeois. Structures of existence: the cells"

In 2015, the Museum of modern art "Garage" presented in Moscow a large-scale exhibition Bourgeois. This exhibition is devoted to a series of sculptures environmental, which was created by Louise for the last 20 years of her life. It was presented more than 80 works Bourgeois: installation, early sculptures, drawings and paintings of the preceding and innovative body of work.
Louise Bourgeois, whose work is recognized around the world, lived a long life. She died of a heart attack at the age of 98 in new York on 31 may 2010.