Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) was a French-American artist. Although best known for her large-scale, biomorphic sculptures and installations, she was also a prolific painter and printmaker, and executed a number of performance pieces beginning in the 1970s. Over the course of her long career, Bourgeois produced work exploring a broad range of themes, including love and abandonment, family, sexual desire, and the unconscious as expressed through the body. Much of this work was influenced by traumatic experiences from her childhood, particularly her father’s prolonged infidelity. Bourgeois viewed art as a cathartic means of processing these events and their psychological impact.
Bourgeois’ first retrospective was organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York City (1982-83); followed by her first European retrospective at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany (1989-91). Bourgeois was selected to be the American representative for the 1993 Venice Biennale, and has since had major museum retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (2001-02); the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia (2001-03); and Tate Modern, London (2007-08)—an exhibition that traveled to the Guggenheim Museum, New York City. Bourgeois’ work is housed in public collections worldwide, including the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; the Guggenheim Museum, New York City; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, Austria; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and many others.