Louise Bourgeois December 25, 1911 – May 31, 2010

Louise Bourgeois, the French-born American artist who gained fame only late in a long career, when her psychologically charged abstract sculptures, drawings and prints had a galvanizing effect on the work of younger artists, particularly women, died on Monday in Manhattan, where she lived. She was 98.

One of the world’s most respected artists by the time of her death, Bourgeois had an exceptionally broad career that was notable for its slow beginnings. Born in Paris to French tapestry restorers in 1911, she worked as an assistant for the artist Fernand Leger before moving to New York in 1938. She did not have her first solo exhibition until June 1945, when she was shown at New York's Bertha Schaeder Gallery, three months before the end of World War II. After experimenting with painting early on, Bourgeois devoted herself to sculpture in 1949, though she occasionally also produced prints and drawings. Of her decision to abandon painting for sculpture, she told the critic Amei Wallach, “When you go from painting to this, it means you have an aggressive thought. You want to twist the neck of a person. I became a sculptor because it allowed me to express … what I was embarrassed to express before.”

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