Sculptor Louise Bourgeois (American/French, born December 25, 1911–died May 31, 2010) is regarded as one of the most successful female artists during her lifetime. Born in Paris, France, Bourgeois studied mathematics at the Sorbonne before switching to Fine Art at École du Louvre and École des Beaux-Arts. In 1938, after marrying American art historian Robert Goldwater, she moved to New York to study painting at the Art Students League. Though influenced by European Abstract Expressionism, Bourgeois did not create abstract art; instead, she used symbolic objects to express psychological themes.
Bourgeois produced wooden sculptures in the late 1940s, and began to create works crafted with non-traditional media, such as latex and plaster, in the 1950s. Her work became more sexually explicit in the 1960s and 1970s, and she gradually received more attention as public attitude changed due to feminism and Postmodernism. She drew international attention at the documenta 9 in Kassel in 1992, and at the Venice Biennale one year later. In 1999, Bourgeois was the first artist commissioned to fill the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London, which held a large retrospective in honor of her 95th birthday. Her work was also exhibited at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. In 1999, she was honored by the Japanese Art Association with the Praemium Imperiale.
Louise Bourgeois died on May 31, 2010 at the age of 98.