Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Bourgeois, Louise (Joséphine)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French-born US sculptor and painter. Working in a variety of media, she became known for her abstract and deeply personal sculptures. Early work includes The Blind Leading the Blind (1947–49), a wooden sculpture evocative of a massive comb, but she became more widely known during the 1990s for her Maman series of spiders, the largest of which is more than 30 ft/9 m high and resides at the Tate Modern, London. Themes include childhood and human vulnerability, and many of her sculptures suggest exaggerated and often sexually explicit forms of the human body.

Bourgeois became widely known late in her career, and after representing the USA in the Venice Biennale in 1993 she was the subject of the retrospective ‘Louise Bourgeois: The Locus of Memory, Works 1982–1993’ in New York and Washington, DC; this was followed by several other exhibitions in Europe and the USA.

Bourgeois was born in Paris and studied mathematics at the Sorbonne before attending art school. After marrying US art historian Robert Goldwater (1907–1973), she moved to New York in 1938. She held her first solo exhibitions of paintings in 1945 and sculpture in 1949. During the 1970s she taught art at Columbia University, Cooper Union, and Yale University. Awards include France's Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters (1983) and the USA's National Medal of Arts (1997).

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article BOURGEOIS, LOUISE (1911-)
France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History

Louise Bourgeois is considered a leader in twentieth-century sculpture. Her works have been greatly influenced by the surrealists, and her...

Full text Article Bourgeois, Louise
Chambers Biographical Dictionary

1911-2010 US sculptor Born in Paris, she studied at the École du Louvre, the Académie des Beaux-Arts and at private art schools before emigrating to

Full text Article Bourgeois, Louise (1911)
The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art and Artists

French-born U.S. sculptor. She began her career as a painter and engraver. She turned to imaginative and highly individual carved...

See more from Credo