Biography of Louise Bourgeois
Louise Bourgeois’ career hurtled into the public sphere with the rise of feminism in the late 1960s and the sudden recognition of her emotionally charged and beautifully crafted work. A pioneer of Confessional Art, her high auction results have certified her place as one of the world's most acclaimed and adored female artists.
The raw potency of Louise Bourgeois’ work derives from her rigorous exploration of her troubled childhood—stemming from the double standards of a domineering father. A philanderer, he conducted a 10-year affair with the young Bourgeois’ governess, while belittling his wife and daughter who both had to pretend nothing was happening. Later in her career Bourgeois frequently returned to the form of the spider in her sculptures, a symbol of the strength of motherhood with its allusions to nurturing and guardianship. In 2000 she was given the honor of staging the inaugural exhibition in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, it was here she memorably showed Maman, a colossal steel arachnid.
Born in France in 1911, Louis Bourgeois started off studying mathematics before converting to art and moving to New York in 1938 where she lived for the rest of her life. An accomplished printmaker, she worked for a time in the legendary Atelier 17 and has made over 1500 different editions and multiples—all of which fit seamlessly into her practice. She would go on to donate her entire multiples and editions archive to MoMA. Bourgeois died in 2010 having achieved just about everything possible for an artist at that time. She features in all major collections worldwide and represented The United States at the Venice Biennale in 1993.