Torso, Self Portrait
Date 1963 - 1964
Medium Bronze with white patina
Dimensions 58.1 x 38.6 x 16.5 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-71
Louise Bourgeois, born to tapestry-maker parents living in the Paris area, settled in New York in 1938 after having married the American art historian Robert Goldwater (1907–1973). There she began relations with the milieu of the Surrealists, many of whom had left France for the United States during the Second World War, and held her first personal exhibition in 1945. Working at the margins of the artistic scene, she was almost forgotten until a lively interest in her work began to manifest itself during the 1970s. ‘Every day, you have to abandon your past or accept it and then, if you cannot accept it, you become a sculptor.’ Based on numerous declarations made by the artist, there has been much insistence on Louise Bourgeois’s work on herself that she has transferred into her art, particularly her relationship with her father and her father’s mistress. Her work, however, cannot be summarized by this private exorcism, and even less by simple feminism, as has been pointed out by Robert Storr, one of the most significant analysts of her work. A definite link to the Surrealism of Max Ernst and Victor Brauner can be found. In Torso, a cast of which is kept at the MoMA in New York, the bust is covered with curious knobs, which Robert Storr compares to the ‘shuttles’ used in the weaving trade, while also seeing phalluses and vaginas there. J-FC