French-born American sculptor Louise Bourgeois, most famous for her psychologically centered sculptures, died on May 31 in her Manhattan home. Bourgeois carved out a long career of nearly five decades, in which she produced some world-famous sculptures including the Maman spider structures.
Ms. Bourgeois often cited pain as the guiding force within her work. “The subject of pain is the business I am in,” she said. “To give meaning and shape to frustration and suffering. The existence of pain cannot be denied. I propose no remedies or excuses.”
Born on Dec. 25, 1911, Bourgeois was most well known for her Cells, Spiders, books, drawings and sculptures. Throughout the 1940s, she exhibited her work in New York City, where she made her debut at the Peridot Gallery in 1949 with her sculpture entitled: “Louise Bourgeois, Recent Work 1947-1949: Seventeen Standing Figures in Wood.”
Bourgeois gained fame later in her career when in 1982, the New York Museum of Modern Art created a retrospective of Bourgeois’ work, marking the first retrospective the museum had ever organized on a female sculptor. Later in her career, the Tate Modern museum in London mounted a major retrospective of her work that went on display from October 2007-2008. The exhibition travelled to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2008. It later traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC in 2009.