École du Louvre, Paris, France, 1937
Sorbonne, Paris, France, 1935
Louise Bourgeois was a French-born painter, sculptor, and printmaker who first exhibited her work at the Brooklyn Museum Print Exhibition in 1939. Although Bourgeois was very close to the Abstract Expressionists, with whom she frequently socialized and worked, her work was never abstract. Instead, her strange forms, which depict things such as spiders, architectural forms such as houses and cages, and the human body, explored themes of loneliness, conflict, frustration, vulnerability, sexual desire, and love.
Originally creating sculptures out of wood, marble, and bronze, Bourgeois began using non-traditional media such as latex and plaster in the 1960s, in some cases lifting the works off the ground to hang from the ceiling. By the 1970s, it became clear that her work, often sexually explicit and emotionally daring, had pioneered a new movement of postmodern and feminist art. By the end of the 20th century, she was known as one of the most important female artists of her generation.
On the occasion of her death, in 2010, The New York Times summed up her œuvre by saying that it "shared a set of repeated themes, centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world."
Bourgeois's work has been exhibited at almost every major museum in the world, as well as notable international exhibitions. In 1993, she represented the United States at the Venice Biennale. She was the subject of numerous retrospectives; the last comprehensive survey of her work, Louise Bourgeois: Retrospective, premiered in 2007 at the Tate Modern, and subsequently traveled to the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She is one of the most prominent female artists to live and work in the 20th and 21st centuries, and her work continues to be shown around the world.
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
Tate Gallery, London, England
Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY