We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Arched figure

cast 2010


Louise Bourgeois

France, United States of America

25 Dec 1911 – 31 May 2010

Alternate image of Arched figure by Louise Bourgeois
Alternate image of Arched figure by Louise Bourgeois
  • Details

    cast 2010
    Media category
    Materials used
    bronze, fabric, wood and metal
    116.8 x 193.0 x 99.1 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation 2016
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © The Easton Foundation/VAGA, NY. Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Louise Bourgeois

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Louise Bourgeois is one of the most important female sculptors of the contemporary period. But given her forthright rejection of the label ‘woman artist’, she might better be considered one of the most innovative artists to have emerged in the United States in the second-half of the twentieth century. She left behind a sculptural legacy of rare breadth and intensity, one that took her from the late modernist influences of Surrealism through to her foundational work defining the new century’s fascination with subjectivity, sexuality and the abject.

    Bourgeois’ idiosyncratic and fascinating practice spanned seven decades, yet it always projected a singular vision. From her early work – described by Lynne Cooke as having ‘dual threads – one involved with the psychic and corporeal structures of the body, the other with the charged spaces it constructs for mental and physical shelter’ – to her later practice that intensified these enduring preoccupations, she spent decades sharpening our awareness of sensations – from the fleshy to the psychological – that reside beyond the purely visual.

    Bourgeois was obsessed by the self and its many relations. With cathartic intensity, she drew upon autobiographical content, particularly her childhood in France and fraught relationship with her parents, to explore the effect that people have on each other. This lithe torso, with its exposed ribcage and jutting hips, suggests a self pushed to physical and psychological extremes. Historical depictions of hysteria and ecstasy often portray women’s bodies contorted like this one. Bourgeois revises that imagery in this arched male body.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 8 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 6 publications