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Louise Bourgeois (1911 - 2010)

Lot 184: Louise Bourgeois drawing exhibited in Pompidou and Louvre

Adams Amsterdam Auctions

June 23, 2020
Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Description

BOURGEOIS, Louise (French, American 1911 - 2010). Je t'aime. Le désir: vous me ferez cent lignes - non 200 lignes [I love you. Desire: you will write me a hundred lines - not 200 lines], 1977. Red ink on grid paper, dated '3/19/77' (lower right), inscribed on the reverse (upside down) in the same red ink 'Le Pensum 1977 à P.S. qui parle français. Lycée HOCHE de Versailles, Ecole Communale d'Antony, Lycée Fénelon, J ai desobei [sic!] a mon professeur 500 fois. J ai menti á la surveillante 200 fois. pour demain Je me suis sauvée dans les couloirs, 125 fois. Je me suis cachée dans le préau, 400 fois' [Imposition 1977 to P.S. who speaks French [...] I have disobeyed my teacher 500 times. I have lied to the supervisor 200 times. For tomorrow: I ran away in the corridors, 125 times. I hid in the playground, 400 times] and in another hand in pencil 'Make love not war'; framed under passe-partout behind glass in the original wooden frame with glass backing, with labels of Robert Miller Gallery, New York and Galerie Lelong, Zürich and an exhibition label of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris on the reverse. Unexamined out of the frame, pinholes in the corners and in the upper centre, two stains along the right edge and one small stain at the lower left edge, minor surface grime in places, unobtrusive handling creases in places, several tiny tears at the edges, slightly cockled, else in good condition.

Dimensions

Image size 20.7 x 32.2 cm., frame size 42.6 x 52.8 cm.

Artist or Maker

BOURGEOIS, Louise (French, American 1911 - 2010).

Exhibited

'Mille et Tre', Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2009/2010; 'Louise Bourgeois. Pensées-Plumes', Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1995, nr. 72, pp. 40-41 (ill.); 'Louise Bourgeois', Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki, 1995, nr. 83, pp. 64-65 (ill.); The Brooklyn Museum/Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994; 'Louise Bourgeois', Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, 1991, nr. 155, p. 194

Literature

Kotik, C., Sultan, T. & Leigh C. Louise Bourgeois: The Locus of Memory, Works 1982-1993. New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1994, p. 34, fig. 14; Nadine Satiat. Au miroir de Louise. Essai sur l'artiste Louise Bourgeois, 2014, passim

Provenance

Private collection; acquired directly from the artist through Galerie Lelong, Zürich

Notes

This wordy drawing is one of the key works in the oeuvre of Louise Bourgeois. Dealing with childhood trauma, fear and pain, and trying to fulfil the need for love and belonging are the core themes of Bourgeois' art. As evidenced by her Red Room project (1994), for Louise Bourgeois the red colour is a symbol of shame, resentment and violence. In this installation we see a children's pillow embroidered with 'je t'aime' squeezed on a bed between two scarlet adult pillows - a powerful metaphor of a child's cry for love to her alienated parents. In the drawing offered here (1977) Louise Bourgeois creates a stirring manifesto of love as self-inflicted punishment by passionately writing 'Je t'aime' 300 times in red ink on grid paper. Nadine Satiat also gives Je t'aime an important place in her personal search for the sources and themes of Louise Bourgeois. For a comprehensive exploration of the background and meaning of the work offered here, we gladly refer you to her essay: Au miroir de Louise, cf. u.nu/ourgeois A true museum piece with an impeccable provenance, this drawing has been exhibited at the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Helsinki City Art Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. The power of its visual message also received commercial recognition: in 1994 a limited edition of 1000 screenprinted pillowcases after this drawing was published by the Tate Gallery, London.

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