Artists & Designers

Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010)

Louise Bourgeois's powerful, sensuous sculptures out of wood, marble, latex, or glass translate deeply personal feelings into eloquent universal statements. Using childhood memories as a generative device, Bourgeois deals 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 the post-minimalistic aesthetic arena in which form and style carried associations of human experience and meaning.

Bourgeois's artistic roots lay in the Paris of the 1920s and 1930s, in Art Deco and Surrealism. Born in 1911 in France, she received most of her artistic training in Paris. Having learned to draw as a young woman executing drawings for her family's tapestry restoration business, Bourgeois went on to study art at various schools including the Académie Julian and the studios of Fernand Léger. In 1938 Bourgeois married Robert Goldwater, an American art historian, and moved permanently to New York City. There she continued her association with the European surrealists, but also met the American abstract expressionists. However, her own work remained outside of the mainstream until her longstanding interest in the body, in autobiography, and in vulnerability became driving forces in contemporary art with post-minimalism. Bourgeois has been seen as a link between modernist sculptors such as Constantin Brancusi, Jean Arp, and Alberto Giacometti and postmodernists such as Robert Gober and Kiki Smith.

Adapted from

  • Suzanne Weaver, "Sainte Sebastienne," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press), 302.

  • Annegreth Nil, DMA unpublished material.

Web Resources

  • The Guggenheim
    Explore Bourgeois' career and life.