Untitled

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  • Provenance

    Louise Bourgeois Trust (acquired directly from the artist)
    Cheim & Read, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Venice, Fondazione Vedova; London, Hauser & Wirth; New York, Cheim & Read, Louise Bourgeois:The Fabric Works, 6 May 2010 - 25 June 2011, no. 221, p. 313 (illustrated, p. 239)

  • Video

    Louise Bourgeois, 'Untitled', Lot 135

    20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, 14 February

  • Catalogue Essay

    For over 80 years, Louise Bourgeois probed the psychological depths of her own lived experience to create art that was as radical as it was deeply personal. Exploring themes of domesticity, sexuality, and mortality, Bourgeois approached art making as a therapeutic process to confront her own troubled childhood memories.

    Executed in 2010, the year of Bourgeois’s passing, Spiral is an exquisite gouache that speaks to the artist’s over six decade-long exploration of the symbolic form of the spiral. ‘The spiral is important to me,’ she once stated. ‘As a child, after washing tapestries in the river, I would turn and twist and ring them…The spiral – I love the Spiral – represents control and freedom’ (Louise Bourgeois, quoted in Paul Gardner, Louise Bourgeois, New York, 1994, p. 68). Bourgeois here saturates the sheet in her favoured colour of red, employed to represent the extremes of the human condition and heighten the symbolism of the cycle of life that the spiral alludes to.

    In the last decade of Bourgeois’s life, her so-called fabric “drawings” became a central focus of her practice. In Untitled, 2006, Bourgeois has assembled the form of a spiral by cutting up and re-stitching fabrics found in her own personal collection of old clothes and household items such as tablecloths, napkins or bed linen accrued over deacdes. For Bourgeois, who grew up helping in her parent’s tapestry restoration workshop, fabric and the act of sewing held immense personal significance: ‘I always had the fear of being separated and abandoned. The sewing is my attempt to keep things together and make things whole’ (Louise Bourgeois, quoted in Louise Bourgeois: Aller-Retour: Zeichnungen und Skulpturen, Nuremberg, 2005, p. 201).

  • Artist Bio

    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.

    View More Works

135

A Vision in Red: Property from a Private Swiss Collection

Untitled

embroidered with the artist's initials 'LB' lower right
ink on fabric and fabric collage
39.4 x 39.7 cm (15 1/2 x 15 5/8 in.)
Executed in 2006.

Estimate
£70,000 - 90,000 ‡ ♠

sold for £87,500

Contact Specialist

Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale, Director, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

44 20 7318 4065
tkerimova@phillips.com

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 14 February 2020