Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Eyes

Artist:
Louise Bourgeois (American, Paris 1911–2010 New York)
Date:
1982
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
74 3/4 x 54 x 45 3/4 in. (189.9 x 137.2 x 116.2 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Anonymous Gift, 1986
Accession Number:
1986.397
Rights and Reproduction:
© Louise Bourgeois/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Not on view
Louise Bourgeois began her career as a painter and engraver, turning to sculpture in the late 1940s. Born in Paris, she studied art at various schools there, including the École du Louvre, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Académie Julian, and Atelier Fernand Léger. In 1938 she emigrated to the United States and continued her studies at the Art Students League in New York. During the latter 1940s she produced prints at Atelier 17 in New York where she became friendly with the artists Le Corbusier, Joan Miró, and Yves Tanguy. Since about 1947–49, when she produced her first sculptural works, her imagery has been influenced by Surrealism, a movement that attracted her attention when a great number of European artists came to the New York area during World War II. In 1949 Peridot Gallery in New York exhibited these works for the first time. Her sculptures of the 1940s were composed groupings of elongated, carved wood totems, abstract in shape and painted in a uniform color. In the 1960s her work, which retained its Surrealist undertones, expanded in size and was executed in bronze, carved stone, and rubber latex. Bourgeois's highly idiosyncratic style relies on an intensely personal vocabulary of anthropomorphic forms charged with sexual allusions.


"Eyes" is a large marble sculpture that shows the persistence of Surrealist iconography in her late work. The eye, a recurring motif in Surrealism, served as both a symbol for the act of perception and as an allusion to female sexual anatomy. Perched on top of a massive marble block chiseled in various places to resemble a house (a recurring theme in her work) are two highly polished round balls with a carved circular opening at each center. As a unit they suggest a bold abstract head, a female torso, or the symbolic marriage of woman to home and family.

Inscription: Signed and dated (verso): Louise Bourgeois/ 1982
private collection (1982–86; their gift to MMA)

New York. Doris Freedman Plaza, organized by the Public Art Fund. "Louise Bourgeois: Eyes," May–December 1986, no catalogue.

Michael Brenson. "A Bountiful Season In Outdoor Sculpture Reveals Glimmers Of a New Sensibility." New York Times (July 18, 1986), pp. C1, C20, ill. (installation photo, Exh. New York 1986).

Stuart Morgan. Louise Bourgeois. Exh. cat., Taft Museum of Art. Cincinnati, 1987, unpaginated, ill. (installation photo, Exh. New York 1986).

Donald Kuspit. Bourgeois. New York, 1988, unpaginated, ill.

Elizabeth Avedon Editions. Bourgeois. New York, 1988, unpaginated, ill. (color, installation photo, Exh. New York 1986).

Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. (1st ed., 1983). New York, 1994, pp. 458–59, no. 48, ill. (color).

Andrée Bober and Catherine Zinser, ed. Landmarks: The Public Art Program of The University of Texas at Austin, 2008–2015. Austin, 2015, p. 16, ill. p. 17 (color).



Related Objects

Spider Woman

Artist: Louise Bourgeois (American, Paris 1911–2010 New York) Date: 2005 Medium: Drypoint Accession: 2006.17 On view in:Not on view

The Sweet Smell of Indigo

Artist: Louise Bourgeois (American, Paris 1911–2010 New York) Date: 1968 Medium: Watercolor, charcoal, and gouache on paper Accession: 1982.228 On view in:Not on view

Point of Contact

Artist: Louise Bourgeois (American, Paris 1911–2010 New York) Date: 1967–68 Medium: Bronze Accession: 1973.340 On view in:Not on view

Untitled

Artist: Louise Bourgeois (American, Paris 1911–2010 New York) Date: 1994 Medium: Silicone rubber Accession: 1995.42d On view in:Not on view

A Flower in the Forest

Artist: Louise Bourgeois (American, Paris 1911–2010 New York) Date: 1997 Medium: Lithograph, edition 25/75 Accession: 1999.45a On view in:Not on view