Louise Bourgeois - 20th C. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    The Artist
    Robert Miller Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1995

  • Exhibited

    New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Louise Bourgeois, November 3, 1982 - January 5, 1984, no. 93, p. 121 (illustrated, p. 73)
    Amsterdam, Museum Overholland, Louise Bourgeois: Works on Paper 1939-1988, October 22 - December 31, 1988
    Paris, Galerie Lelong, Louise Bourgeois: Dessins 1940-1986, February 19 - March 25, 1989
    Cologne, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Louise Bourgeois Skulpturen und Zeichnungen, November 16, 1990 - January 19, 1991
    Kansas City, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Louise Bourgeois, July 8 - September 4, 1994

  • Catalogue Essay

    To fully understand the personal nature of Louise Bourgeois’s extensive practice, it is important to study not only the artist’s famous large-scale bronze and steel sculptures, but also her mastery of mediums beyond the three-dimensional, specifically in drawing. Executed in 1951, Untitled is an exquisite example of Bourgeois’s draughtsmanship, which was recently the subject of The Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait in 2017-2018. If Bourgeois’s sculptures went largely unnoticed until the late 1970s, her drawings were even more clandestine in nature, neither published nor exhibited until a full ten years later. Untitled was included in two of the seminal exhibitions that defined the scope and significance of Bourgeois’ drawings, namely the exhibition Louise Bourgeois, which traveled from The Museum of Modern Art in New York, to the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago between 1982 and 1984, as well as Louise Bourgeois: Works on Paper 1939-1988 at the Museum Overholland, Amsterdam, in 1988.

    Bourgeois’s early drawings from the 1940s and 1950s were largely based on memories from her childhood. Born in Paris to parents who restored Renaissance tapestries, she was fascinated by the surrounding draped fabrics adorned with plant and floral designs. These feather-like motifs are evident in Untitled, meditatively drawn in hatched lines, varying in density, which in turn create the illusion of light and shadow. As the artist herself stated, “everything is fleeting, but your drawing will serve as a reminder; otherwise it is forgotten” (Louise Bourgeois, quoted in Louise Bourgeois: Drawings & Observations, exh. cat., University Art Museum, Berkeley, 1995, p. 21).

  • Artist Biography

    Louise Bourgeois

    French-American • 1911 - 2010

    Known for her idiosyncratic style, Louise Bourgeois was a pioneering and iconic figure of twentieth and early twenty-first century art. Untied to an art historical movement, Bourgeois was a singular voice, both commanding and quiet.

    Bourgeois was a prolific printmaker, draftsman, sculptor and painter. She employed diverse materials including metal, fabric, wood, plaster, paper and paint in a range of scale — both monumental and intimate. She used recurring themes and subjects (animals, insects, architecture, the figure, text and abstraction) as form and metaphor to explore the fragility of relationships and the human body. Her artworks are meditations of emotional states: loneliness, jealousy, pride, anger, fear, love and longing.

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signed "Bourgeois" lower right
ink on paper
9 1/2 x 15 5/8 in. (24.1 x 39.7 cm.)
Executed in 1951.

$70,000 - 100,000 

Sold for $93,750

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th C. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 13 November 2019