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The View from the Bottom of the WellEnlarge image

The View from the Bottom of the Well, 1996

Louise Bourgeois
French, American, 1911 - 2010
portfolio, in red cloth-covered folder, containing 9 prints in drypoint and aquatint on wove paper and 1 sheet of letterpress text on grey wove paper
Printed by Harlan & Weaver Intaglio
folio: 34.4 x 26.7 x 1.6 cm; sheet: 33.5 x 26 cm each; text sheet: 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Purchased 1997
National Gallery of Canada (no. 38554.1-10)
© Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois has drawn prolifically throughout her career. Quick, impulsive, and often naïve in style, her drawings provide access to “the unconscious and to sites long-buried in memory,” offering us a map of the fears and emotions that motivate her art. The claustrophobic images and the frantically written journal entry conjure feelings of intense anxiety and personal trauma and perhaps testify to the artist’s own sense of entrapment as a child. Bourgeois has identified the figures at the top of the well as her two sons, Alain and Jean-Louis. The narrative, however, is unclear - will motherhood save Bourgeois from these emotions, or will it further confine her?

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