Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois turned to art to make sense of her turbulent childhood. Her 80-year career has made a profound mark on 20th and 21st century art. 

Louise Bourgeois made work about her complicated relationship to trauma, family and the body. Born 1911 in Paris, France, Louise questioned her turbulent homelife across her 80-year career. 

She went on to study mathematics at Sorbonne University, but its logic was no use to her. She then began making art. From Woven figures, sculptures of spiders, and drawings of insomnia, art gave her a psychological release.

Pink textile sculpture of a woman with no arms or hair, spools of white thread are attached to her breasts

The Good Mother, 2003

The spider sculpture she is famous for is about her mother. Just like her, who was a weaver, spiders protect and create a sense of home. Bourgeois gave us a visual language to understand emotions, memory and the body.

Art Is a Guaranty of Sanity

It’s hard to capture the raw emotional impact Bourgeois's work continues to make into words.

Red abstract watercolour painting of a woman giving birth

The Birth, 2007

Sculpture of a huge spider

Mamn, 1999

Red drawing of a face with hair that grows into spider legs on a cream hankercheif

Spider Women, 2004

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