Louise Bourgeois

France, 1911 - 2010

Best known for her large-scale spider sculptures and installation art, Bourgeois was also a prolific painter and printmaker. She explored a variety of themes over the course of her extensive career including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the unconscious. Through room-sized installations, Bourgeois sculpted biomorphic forms that suggest the body’s internal physicality. Her early use of alternative materials (resin, latex, and cloth) and organic, contoured shapes suggest a tension between the female and male forms.

Born in Paris, France, Bourgeois was initially associated with the surrealism movement due to her frequent inclusion of fantastic elements into her prints and sculptures. However, Bourgeois exhibited with the abstract expressionists and her work is well in line with both surrealism and feminist art. Her long career produced a large amount of paintings, drawings, prints, and even celebrated textile works. Bourgeois’ work is in numerous public spaces and museum collections including New York's Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art, which held a 1982 retrospective of her work (its first such exhibition of work by a woman), as did the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2001.