Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Louise Bourgeois, 1911-1910 June 20, 2010

Filed under: Art works,Artists,Longevity — Janet @ 12:44 pm

  this is the obituary that appeared in the Economist.  A little over 5 years ago an exhibition of some of her work was held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham.  It was such a thrill to see the great variety in her output.  And it was such an inspiration to know that she was still very much an active artist at age 92.  It was inevitable that she would leave us someday but what a legacy – and what an interesting life she lead.  She was born in Paris on Christmas Day 1911.  She studied mathematics at the Sorbonne before she turned to art.  First she was a painter but later she turned to sculpture.  She married an American art historian, moved to New York and lived there for the rest of her life.  Her work wasn’t widely recognized until the 1980’s when a retrospective was held at the New York Museum of Modern Art.  I mentioned the Exhibition in Dublin, some of her work can also be seen at the Tate Modern in London and also in Seattle as well as other venues around the world.   She was an activist, particularly in recent years, for gay and lesbian rights and the freedom to marry.  She continued to produce artwork up until the week before she died, of heart failure.

One of her most famous works was a mammoth spider which she labelled Maman.                This is in the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

I quote the following from Wikipedia:

The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.

Louise Bourgeois[22]


Will I Ever Be Discovered? December 26, 2009

Filed under: Ageing,Art works,Longevity — Janet @ 5:20 pm

A while ago I read an article in the Irish Times about a woman artist in Northern Ireland who was not recognized as an artist of merit until she was age 84.  Her early life as a painter remained a secret until her son uncovered hundreds of her paintings in an old barn.  The discovery of the works lead to her first one-woman show in 1985 when she was 86.  Eleven years later, shortly before her death in her 97th year,  a retrospective of her work was presented at the Ulster Museum.  Her son and a journalist/art collector have written a book in tribute to her – Kathleen Isabella Metcalfe Mackie by Eamonn Mallie and Paddy Mackie

Similarly I read recently about a Cubanborn artist, resident in the U.S., who has been painting all her life but  only sold her first painting at the age of 89.  According to an article in the New York Times, Carmen Herrera, at age 94, is the hot new thing on the art scene.

A while ago I did a blog about Louise Bourgeois, born in 1911, and still being very creative.

Reading about these people is very inspiring to me.  I hope I will still be painting and knitting and weaving for many years to come.  I love those activities – and it is a thrill when friends and others admire my work.  I don’t aspire to such fame as the people mentioned above but I hope I am still able to get satisfaction from such work if I am fortunate enough to reach the higher decades – and possibly to feel I had made some sort of a mark on the art and craft world. 

I have framed the watercolour painting I completed recently in my Art Group.  Up until recently I have only been doing sketching but in the past month I added a bit of line and watercolour to my sketch of my knitting stash.  Here is the result.    


Detective Stories December 23, 2009

Filed under: Books,Longevity,Social history — Janet @ 3:02 pm

    The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale

What a good book this was.  If you want to follow the development and early days of detective story writing this is the book for you.  This book is about a murder case which happened in 1860 in England.  The case was most bizarre and was never solved to the 100% satisfaction of all concerned.  But I leave it to you to read the details.  I found it absolutely fascinating.