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Louise Bourgeois was a renowned 20th Century feminist and installation artist. Born in Paris in 1911, she studied math at the University of Paris and fine art at several French academies. Shortly after opening her business as an art dealer she met, and later married, American art historian Robert Goldwater in 1938. After moving to New York, she enrolled at the Art Students League and began her career in painting and printmaking.
Drawing from traumatic themes in childhood, the content of Bourgeois’ work explores the human body, anger, beauty, and desire. Utilizing these themes to reconstruct memories, she developed a personal visual language including spiders, sewn appendages, biomorphic forms, and cages to represent internal conflicts. Her first solo exhibition of paintings were presented in New York in 1945, and she moved into sculptural work through the latter half of the decade. In the 1950s and 1960s she traveled to France and Italy, experimenting in new materials such as latex and marble while undergoing intensive psychoanalysis.
In 1982, Bourgeois’ body of work was celebrated with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art New York with other later major museum retrospectives held at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Tate Modern, London. Among her accolades, she was named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letter by the French minister of culture in 1983, received the Grand Prix National de Sculpture from the French government in 1991, was presented the National Medal of Arts by United States President Bill Clinton in 1997, recognized with a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1973, and elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1981. Louise Bourgeois continued to create work while teaching at several universities until her death in 2010 at the age of 98.