Bourgeois’s works: A visual celebration

In the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, this exhibition entitled, “Louise Bourgeois: No Exit” is made up of evocative drawings, prints and sculptures by Bourgeois, goes on view from November 15, 2015 through May 15, 2016. The 21 works in the exhibition, either drawn from the collection or promised to the Gallery, reveal the artist’s intensely personal approach to art-making and explore her grounding in surrealism and ties to existentialism.


“M is for Mother”, 1998, by Louise Bourgeois, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Dian Woodner, © The Easton Foundation/ Licensed by VAGA, NY.

“M is for Mother”, 1998, by Louise Bourgeois, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Dian Woodner, © The Easton Foundation/ Licensed by VAGA, NY.


Highlights include a vintage copy of “He Disappeared into Complete Silence” (1947), comprising nine engravings and nine disquieting parables; “Germinal” (1967), a strangely compelling marble sculpture; and “M is for Mother” (1998), a drawing of an imposing letter M that conveys not only maternal comfort but also maternal control.

“We are pleased to celebrate Louise Bourgeois in this compelling presentation,” said director Earl A. Powell III. “The National Gallery of Art first acquired works by Bourgeois in 1992, when our Collectors Committee purchased and donated three of her early sculptures and a fourth was donated by the artist. Since then, especially in the last decade, our collection of works by Bourgeois has been enhanced mainly through generous gifts and pledges by Dian Woodner of New York and Tony Podesta of Washington, but also in last year’s acquisition of an outstanding drawing from the Corcoran Gallery of Art.”

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. owns 19 works by Bourgeois, consisting of drawings, prints and sculptures, including an illustrated book, “the puritan” (1990) as well as and five additional works have been promised to the Gallery. Collectively dating from the early 1940s to 1998, they include many rare and important pieces, but the Bourgeois collection is distinguished not for its size; moreover, for its extraordinary quality. Bourgeois’s monumental “Spider” (1996, cast 1997) is on view in the Gallery’s Sculpture Garden.


LouiseBourgeoisBorn to a prosperous Parisian family, French American Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) first encountered the surrealists in France as a university student in the 1930s. After marrying the American art historian Robert Goldwater and moving to New York in 1938, she became reacquainted with the European surrealists who were exiled during the war. Surrealism informed her early endeavors as an artist, including her early prints, paintings, and drawings, as well as the human-size totemic sculptures for which she first gained renown. However, Bourgeois never identified with the male-dominated movement and bristled at critics who labeled her a surrealist. Instead, she self-identified as an existentialist, not only quoting philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in interviews but also naming one of her sculptures after Sartre’s play No Exit.









Published by on November 2015. Filed under Art-to-Art Palette NewsWire/AAPNW, At the Centers dept, News (Time related), Northwest Passage Record/NWPR, Palette News Arts Network/PNAN, PaletteBoards Section, People and Places, Washington D.C.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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