Marlborough Graphics is pleased to present the complete portfolio of Louise Bourgeois View from the Bottom of the Well, 1996. Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) is a much celebrated French-American artist with a career spanning eight decades from the 1930s until 2010, she is one of the great figures of modern and contemporary art and a prolific printmaker; inspired by her own memories and experiences. Born in Paris in 1911, Bourgeois attended a series of schools including the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Atelier Fernand Léger. During this period, she became friends with such artists as Joan Miró, Yves Tanguy and Le Corbusier and she began to experiment with painting. Bourgeois arrived in New York in 1938 and in the 1940's she started to explore printmaking with Stanley William Hayter.
Printmaking was integral to her practice, enjoying the sculptural, tactile, and physical processes it holds. The medium gave Bourgeois the ability to make many changes over the course of an edition, experimenting with the depth of transparency within certain elements of her drawings, and this resulted in several different states until she was satisfied. The possibilities of retaining parts of her original drawings whilst amending others through printmaking was something that she felt was not available to her in painting or sculpture.
Bourgeois says of printmaking, “the whole history of the creative process is there. In painting or in sculpture it would be gone.” View from the Bottom of the Well is a beautiful example of Bourgeois storytelling, her compositions concerned with memories of her past, troubling situations, and unpredictable and disturbing moods, but also enabling her to savour joyous moments. Indeed, talking about the source drawing for View from the Bottom of the Well plate 2 of 9, Bourgeois said: "We lived in Easton, where there was no city water and we were totally dependent on the well. The water table was low in Easton, so the well was quite deep. The guilt feeling and the severity that inhabited the house were expressed by, 'You better be good or I'll push you down the well.' You see, that was the ultimate punishment. Certainly, I didn't push anybody into the well, but look at these here, one and two...my sons Jean-Louis and Alain. I did something wrong and sure enough, they pushed me in. I'm not accusing them....
The figure is screaming at the bottom of the well. We have tunnel vision and we have bottom-of-the-well vision. If you visualize yourself down there, the question is, how are you going to get out? This philosophy is an optimistic philosophy. By hook or by crook, you are going to get yourself out. And I always did. But how? By drawing."
Explore the entire portfolio exclusively online now, alongside more Louise Bourgeois.
Quote extracted from, Bourgeois, Louise and Lawrence Rinder. "Louise Bourgeois Drawings and Observations." Berkeley: University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive University of California, Berkeley; Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1995, p. 76.