Complex and highly idiosyncratic, the work of Louise Bourgeois enthralls audiences throughout the world. Beginning in the 1940s, shortly after arriving in New York City, Bourgeois produced her first mature, highly original paintings, drawings, and sculptures. While most of her contemporaries were drawn toward pure abstraction, the work of Louise Bourgeois entered the realm of the psychological and symbolic. Themes already evident in these early works continued to resonate throughout her career. The Personages represent her first explorations in sculpture; summoning a physical presence, they suggest moments of alienation as well as evocative encounters. This comprehensive catalogue features the artist's work from the 1940s and 1950s, including 25 sculptures, 17 paintings, 30 drawings, and the series of prints inspired by New York's landscape of skyscrapers, 'He Disappeared into Complete Silence,' which presents Bourgeois' own hermetic texts juxtaposed with enigmatic pictures. An essay explicates the role of ritual and representation in the work of Louise Bourgeois and includes rare documentary photos.Josef Helfenstein is director of Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Essay; artist's statement; paintings; prints; sculptures; drawings; list of works; chronology; exhibitions.