Louise Bourgeois - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale - Afternoon Session New York Wednesday, November 15, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Robert Miller Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1990

  • Exhibited

    Houston, McIntosh/Drysdale Gallery, Small Bronze, April 12 - May 14, 1983 (another example exhibited)
    San Francisco, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Louise Bourgeois, September 14 - October 22, 1983 (another example exhibited)
    Baltimore, George Dalsheimer Gallery, Contemporary Sculpture, October 1 - 30, 1987 (another example exhibited)
    Frankfurt, Frankfurter Kunstverein; Munich, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus; Musée d'art Contemporain de Lyon (no. 54, p. 120, another example illustrated); Barcelona, Fundación Tàpies; Kunstmuseum Bern; Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Louise Bourgeois: A Retrospective Exhibition, December 13, 1989 - July 8, 1991, no. 54, p. 118 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    Vienna, Galerie Krinzinger, Louise Bourgeois 1939-89 Skulpturen und Zeichnungen, May 18 - June 12, 1990 (another example exhibited)
    Zurich, Galerie Lelong, Skulpturen, June 3 - July 31, 1993 (another example exhibited)
    Helsinki, Nyktaiteen Museo, ARS 95 Helsinki, February 11 - May 28, 1995 (another example exhibited)
    San Francisco, Gallery Paule Anglim, Louise Bourgeois, January 25 - March 2, 1996 (another example exhibited)
    Davos, Price-Waterhouse-Coopers, The New Encyclopedists: An Art Exhibition Shown During the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, January 30, 1999 (marble version exhibited)
    Buenos Aires, Fundación Proa; Sao Paulo, Instituto Tomie Ohtake; Rio de Janeiro, Museu de Arte Moderna, Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, March 19 - November 13, 2011, no. 32, p. 181 (another example exhibited and illustrated)

  • Literature

    Robert Storr, Intimate Geometries: The Art and Life of Louise Bourgeois, New York, 2016, p. 325 (plaster and shellac version illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Residing in the same private collection since its acquisition in 1990, the present lot belongs to a pivotal, transitional period in Louise Bourgeois’s sculptural career. In the early 1960s, Bourgeois began to move away from her upright Personages in favor of more flexible mediums, like plaster and latex. The present example, titled The Loved Hand is a bronze variant of the original plaster and shellac sculpture from 1967, cast in 1990, examples of which have been exhibited around the globe and a variant of which is housed in the permanent collection of the Dia:Beacon. The decade of the 1960s marked an increasingly introspective time in Bourgeois’s life, one which was mirrored by her evolving multi-disciplinary practice. As she declared of this period, “[the] trembling and random quality of these materials reflected the polarities of feelings I needed to say” (The Artist, quoted in Christine Meyer-Thoss, Designing for Free Fall, New York, 1992, p. 126).

    These new effects are particularly evident in the present lot. With its greenish patina and varied surface, the protruding elements of the sculpture extend from the base support like a blossoming flower. The intricate arrangement of these “fingers” of the hand, as suggested by the work’s title, reflects the complex emotions Bourgeois was attempting to depict, exploring psychological states like vulnerability and loss of control. When looking at the piece as a whole, the viewer is confronted with an energetic cluster that evokes a sense of dynamism from within, the fingers intertwining as if attempting to find a way out. The enigma of these depicted emotions is further complicated by the work’s title. Suggesting a feeling of belonging that is distinctly feminine, The Loved Hand, in its form’s complexities, actually suggests what might be the opposite—something which is searching for love, or separate parts of a whole fighting for the same affection. In its direct reference to figuration, this work is also one of the few works from this period which explicitly references a part of the human body. With its almost phallic shapes, the present lot perhaps foreshadows what would come to be known as the artist’s “erotic period” of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Bourgeois became more and more involved with the feminist movement. The Loved Hand thus occupies a unique place in the sculptor’s prolific body of work, which is itself characterized by a feminine specificity that makes her one of the most important women female of the 20th Century.

  • 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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The Loved Hand

stamped with the artist's initials, number and the Modern Art Foundry mark "MAF 3/6 L.B." on the reverse
9 x 12 1/8 x 8 in. (22.9 x 30.8 x 20.3 cm.)
Conceived in 1967 and cast in 1990, this work is number 3 from an edition of 6 plus 1 artist's proof.

$180,000 - 250,000 

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale - Afternoon Session

New York Auction 15 November 2017