Bourgeois, Louise (b. 1911)

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Bourgeois, Louise (b. 1911)

French-born American sculptor and painter. Born in Paris, France, Dec 25, 1911; dau. of Louis Bourgeois and Josephine (Fauriaux) Bourgeois; sister of Henriette Bourgeois and Pierre Bourgeois; studied mathematics at Lycée Fénelon and the Sorbonne, 1932–35; m. Robert Goldwater, 1938; children: Michel, Jean-Louis, Alain.

A strong voice in 20th-century art, began career working in the atelier of Fernand Léger, mostly in painting and drawing; 1st became aware of surrealism (mid-1930s); married and moved to US (1938); concentrated on printmaking, painting and drawing, but also began work in sculpture, developing a highly subjective style of expression; presented 1st solo show, in NY (1945); remained relatively undiscovered as a major artist until 1970s; saw a retrospective exhibition of her work at NY's Museum of Modern Art, an honor rarely accorded a living artist, which signaled her acceptance into the highest echelons of American art celebrities (1982); presented with National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton (1997).

See also Donald Kuspit, Bourgeois: An Interview with Louise Bourgeois by Donald Kuspit (Random House, 1988); and Women in World History.