Master of materials Louise Bourgeois is an incomparable talent. Her life’s works have left an impact on not only the contemporary market, but a collection of her peers and collectors. Here’s 10 facts you might not have known about Louise Bourgeois.
Louise was born on Christmas day in Paris, 1911. It was there where she would begin her journey of developing into one of the most important artists of the 20th century.
Bourgeois’ most expensive work ever sold at auction was her 1996 Spider sculpture, which sold for $32 million in 2019 at Christie's. That same year, she was recognized as the only female artist to earn one of the top 10 highest grossing lots. 20% of sales by women artists that year came from her.
Bourgeois’ works reflect her own rationalisations and relationships within her complex family dynamic. These affairs were to be later depicted in some of her most notable works throughout her career.
Tracey Emin has noted and credited Louise Bourgeois many times as not only as a professional influence, but as someone who has supported her personally, outside of the market.
Bourgeois' work frequently explored themes of femininity, gender, and power. However, despite her recognition as a pioneer in the movement and works like Arch Of Hysteria and Femme Maison, she has stated “I am a woman, so I don’t need to be a feminist.
Bourgeois' work often explored themes related to her own psychological experiences, including feelings of anxiety, vulnerability, and trauma. She used her art as a way to work through these emotions and to process her own personal history, as seen in The Destruction Of The Father.
Bourgeois' parents owned a tapestry gallery and restoration business, which exposed her to textiles and craftsmanship from a young age. Its lasting impression on Louise influenced her future work with soft sculptures.
Torso, Self-Portrait is a prime example of Louise’s impression or rather, realisation of herself. Her self-image is intellectual and introspective, opposite of what would traditionally be an iteration of the male gaze.
After spending time receiving therapy after her father’s death, Louise Bourgeois spent a considerable amount of time away from her work. It wouldn’t be until the early 1960s that she returned to her craft.
Louise has won recognition for her work all across the world. She received an honorary doctorate from Yale in 1977, the National Medal of Arts by the United States in 1997, and in 2008 she was awarded the Legion of Honour, the highest award among the French.