Sainte Sebastienne


Louise Bourgeois ( American, 1911 - 2010 )

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General Description

Using childhood memories as a generative device, Louise Bourgeois dealt with issues of gender, and with such universal themes as sex, anxiety, death, loneliness, and pain. Her diaristic experiments and disturbing imagery related to the body anticipated post-minimalist aesthetics in which form and style carried associations of human experience and meaning. Bourgeois began making prints in the 1940s. Sainte Sebastienne is an interpretation of the prominent Renaissance theme of St. Sebastian. Bourgeois recasts the martyred saint as a Rubenesque headless woman. Instead of piercing the body, arrows point to its various parts—perhaps erogenous zones, or perhaps areas of pain.

Adapted from

  • Suzanne Weaver, "Sainte Sebastienne," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Suzanne Kotz (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997), 302.
  • Annegreth Nil, DMA unpublished material, n.d.