Until her death at the age of 98, Louise Bourgeois (b. 1911, Paris, France; d. 2010) continued to create new bodies of work with her characteristic visual language. Throughout her 70-year-long artistic career, she cultivated a consistent vocabulary of forms and motifs, expressing aspects of her own personal history and recurring themes such as marriage, motherhood, sexuality, femininity, and domesticity. Moving freely between abstraction and figuration, Bourgeois produced work in media including drawing, painting, textile, sculptures in numerous materials, as well as installations and performances.
The female body and motherhood were themes that occupied Bourgeois unrelentingly, and the pregnant woman became a key figure in her devotion to transform her thoughts and emotions into form and colour. Drawing and printmaking were also an important part of Bourgeois’ practice, and she considered her graphic works a natural extension of the three-dimensional objects and forms she sculpted.
Louise Bourgeois studied Mathematics at the Sorbonne University, Philosophy at the University of Paris, Art History at the École du Louvre, and Fine Arts at the École des Beaux Arts. Her 1982 retrospective Louise Bourgeois at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was the museum’s first ever
retrospective of a female artist. Since then, Bourgeois has been considered the most important female artist of our times. An extensive retrospective of her work opened at Tate Modern, London, in 2007, and travelled to Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Hirshorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., through May 2009. In 2011, the exhibition Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed opened at Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires, and travelled to Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paolo, and Museo de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro. Bourgeois’ work has been exhibited extensively, and is to be found in the world’s most important public collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, and Bilbao; Kunstmuseum Basel; Kunstmuseum Bern; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo; Tate Modern, London; The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; Uffizi Museum, Florence; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. The retrospective Louise Bourgeois: I Have Been to Hell and Back opened at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, 2015.