Weaver of webs Louise Borgeois

Last week I wrote about French-born American Abstract expressionist sculptor Louise Bourgeois and featured her Mamam in my post about the Tate Modern.   She is very well-known for her gigantic spiders:_

The Spider is an ode to my mother,” Louise Bourgeois once said. “She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver… Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences… spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.”

louise_bourgeois eye to eye 1970

 Sadly, Bourgeois died at the age of 98 on Monday. I find it amazing that this tiny woman was so prolific and still working at nearly 100 years of age!  She was born in Paris in 1911 to tapestry restorers and when she later moved to New York, she found the art scene was totally dominated by men.  Her husband was critic Robert Goldwater.


Hers was a passionate personality, she was filled with darkness, outrage and anger over her father’s affair with her governess.  She translated these emotions into her art.  Bourgeois became famous and popular when she was in her 70’s when she had her first major exhibition.

Her work is not to everyone’s taste, and some have found it disturbing, but I find it dark interesting with many layers.  Through her work she translates childhood trauma and sexuality.   Her art is always linked with the past and very emotional.   In this short film she says that her emotions are inappropriate to her size – that they are her ‘demons’.  Her demons have turned out to be her lifetimes work and she has made a major contribution to sculpture as a media.

Arch of hysteria

 There is a lovely obituary in the Telegraph

There is a lovely article about her here and many videos about her work on YouTube

Maman image from here, Louise Bourgeois pic from here arch of hysteria here

7 Responses to “Weaver of webs Louise Borgeois”

  1. I guess art is a compulsion rather than a profession, so we keep doing it till we drop! What a fascinating woman – I shall make sure I read more about her.

    • Glad you enjoyed that Kirsty! Yes the urge to create is overwhelmingly strong and she has made an art form from her emotions by translating them into sculptures. Very different sort of sculpture than Hepworth (who looks also tiny in stature judging by her pictures).
      I like the twinkle in her eye – God Bless her!

  2. artistatexit0 Says:

    What a productive life…we all should be this lucky. Her fame was late, but well deserved. Yes, her art isn’t to everyone’s taste, but that is also its strength. I think she created art from that little place of remembered pain that she kept wrapped up in silk like a spider shrouds her fly on the web.

    • Lovely way of describing her art Al! Moman also had little marble eggs tucked up into her belly – more little embryos:) I think you are spot on about her subject matter being her strength. Times change – and she was well before her time. You just have to watch the video about Tracy Emin talking about Bourgeois art to see how very much Emin’s art is influenced by her. I never realised this before (unmade bed especially). Bourgeois ‘Seven in a Bed’ and Emin’s Tent ‘Everyone I ever slept with’…..you can see where Emin got the idea. Inspirational woman (both)

  3. thanks for posting this great artist. i especially love her scuplture ” arch of hysteria. beautiful anatomy of the human form. it is so inspiring to learn that she had her first exhibit when she was 70 years old as that. it is a reminder for me, that it is never too late to showcase your art.

    all the best.

    • Arch of hysteria is such a graceful sculpture (considering it’s headless)! The figure has literally ‘lost their head’. Hheheh YES she does indeed give us all hope to plough on creatively – what tenacity and an wonderful inspiration for us all! She only finished her latest pieces last week before her heart attack. Such dedication. I am so glad that she received the recognition she deserved in her lifetime.

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