This biography of 20th-century French artist Louise Bourgeois explores childhood experiences influencing her work.
Growing up beside a river that “wove like a wool thread through everything,” Louise observed a “web of stars” from the garden and slept to water’s “rhythmic rock and murmur.” She learned about form, color, and pattern as well as weaving and making dyes in the family business, which was restoring tapestries. “Useful as a spider” at the family’s work, Louise’s mother was also her best friend, teaching her to draw missing fragments of fabric like “thread in a spider’s web.” Studying math in Paris, Louise turned to art following her mother’s death, literally reworking the fabric of her life into original paintings, sculptures, drawings, cloth books, and tapestries reflecting the river, garden, weaving, spider, and mother motifs of her childhood. The evocative, hand-lettered text, peppered with quotations in red ink, provides an impressionistic portrait of the memories, colors, sounds, and images propelling Louise’s art. These motifs connect the imaginative ink, pencil, pastel, and watercolor illustrations, done in a palette of indigo, red, and gray. Bold, repetitive patterns of stylized flowers, woven crosshatches, spirals, giant spiders, and musical notes form the perfect background for the cloth lullaby Louise weaves for herself.
Splendid visual and verbal introduction to little-known artist Louise Bourgeois. (author’s note; photos, sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)