France 1911 – United States of America 2010
Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris on 25 December 1911. During her school years she assisted at her parents’ tapestry workshop by providing drawings for their designs. Although she enrolled at the Sorbonne, Paris, to study mathematics in 1932, she dropped the course to take up art studies. From 1936 to 1937 she studied art history at the Ecole du Louvre, working at the same time at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Between 1937 and 1938 she attended the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière, where she worked part-time as a studio assistant. She also took classes at the Académie Julian and Atelier Fernand Léger at this time. In 1938 Bourgeois moved to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League the following year. She received an honorary award for a tapestry exhibited in 1943 at The Arts in Therapy at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and her first solo exhibition was held at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York, in 1945. This was followed by an exhibition at the Norylst Gallery in 1947 and exhibitions of sculpture at the Peridot Gallery in 1949, 1950 and 1953.
In 1951 Bourgeois became a naturalised American citizen. In the following years she participated in many group exhibitions, including Les Etas-Unis: Sculpture du XX Siècle at the Musée Rodin, Paris, in 1965, and Eccentric Abstraction at the Fischbach Gallery, New York, in 1966. In the 1970s her work gained critical attention, culminating in a number of solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad, and a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1982. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Bourgeois received many awards, prizes and other distinctions: she represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1993, was commissioned to make a sculpture for the new Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris in 1997, and made the inaugural installation for the opening of the Tate Modern in London in 2000. More than sixty solo exhibitions of her work have been held around the world since 1980. Bourgeois lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York, until her death on 31 May 2010.
See more works by this artist in the NGA collection
Louise Bourgeois Les aveugles [The blind] 1968 © The Easton Foundation. VAGA/Copyright Agency Purchased 1981 Learn more
Louise Bourgeois Les aveugles leading the aveugles [The blind leading the blind] 1968 © The Easton Foundation. VAGA/Copyright Agency Purchased 1981 Learn more
Louise Bourgeois No title c.1951 © The Easton Foundation. VAGA/Copyright Agency Gift of Linda Quinell 1983 Learn more
Louise Bourgeois C.O.Y.O.T.E. 1941-48 © The Easton Foundation. VAGA/Copyright Agency Purchased 1981 Learn more
Louise Bourgeois Vallee de la riviere sans berge [Valley of the limitless river] c.1968-86 © The Easton Foundation. VAGA/Copyright Agency Purchased 1988 Learn more