Louise Bourgeois - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, February 13, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Video

    Louise Bourgeois, 'Untitled', Lot 135

    20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, 14 February

  • 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)

  • 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 Biography

    Louise Bourgeois

    French-American • 1911 - 2010

    Known for her idiosyncratic style, Louise Bourgeois was a pioneering and iconic figure of 20th and early 21st century art. A prolific sculptor, printmaker, draftsman, and painter, Bourgeois has been linked to Surrealism and Feminist art, though she developed a singular voice that betrays firm categorization to a specific art historical movement. Her artworks have been widely understood as visceral meditations of subjective states, such as loneliness, jealousy, pride, anger, fear, love, and longing. Employing diverse materials including metal, fabric, wood, plaster, paper, and paint in both intimate and monumental scales, 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. Bourgeois’ works reside in major institutional collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Tate, London.

    View More Works

A Vision in Red: Property from a Private Swiss Collection



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.

£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
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 14 February 2020