National Gallery of Canada is latest major museum to welcome Louise Bourgeois' Maman
Ottawa - May 9, 2005
The National Gallery of Canada is the latest international institution to acquire Louise Bourgeois' spider sculpture Maman, and will install the iconic artwork outside on the Plaza this week.
Maman, a 30-foot-tall (9.25 m), giant bronze spider carrying a sac of 26 pure white marble eggs under her belly, is the last in a series of six bronze versions of the work that have travelled the world, from the Rockefeller Center in New York to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and the Samsung Museum of Modern Art in Seoul, South Korea, have each acquired a bronze cast. Of the other two, one is on long-term loan to the Hermitage, and the other is on display in Havana, Cuba. A unique steel version is on loan to the Tate Modern in London, England.
"Louise Bourgeois' international renown, along with the opportunity to transform the Plaza with this monumental work, make Maman a very important and exciting acquisition for the National Gallery and for Canada as a whole," says Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. "Her sheer size and extraordinary power make Maman an icon that will turn the National Gallery's Plaza into a landmark."
Louise Bourgeois, whose work spans 70 years, was born in France in 1911, participated in her first group exhibition in 1936, and immigrated to the United States in 1938. The sculptor, now 93 years old, has seen the popularity of her art soar in recent years. At this late stage in her career, when many artists would be slowing down, Bourgeois appears to be making some of her most ambitious work to date, and has had numerous solo exhibitions in some of the most established art institutions in the world. The Tate Modern will present a retrospective of her work in 2007. Between 1989 and 1991, a retrospective organized by the Frankfurter Kunstverein travelled to Munich, Lyon, Barcelona, Bern and Otterlo. In 1993, Bourgeois was selected to represent the United States in the prestigious Venice Biennale.
Maman, created in 1999 and cast in 2003, joins several other Bourgeois works, including the bronze Arch of Hysteria and a group of four painted wood sculptures, in the National Gallery of Canada's permanent collection. Her work is featured in many other major art collections around the world, including the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Uffizi in Florence, and the Musée national d'art moderne in Paris.
The installation of Maman begins with the arrival of the dismantled sculpture and construction cranes today, Monday 9 May, and continues for about week, weather permitting. The project can be monitored live on the National Gallery's Web site at http://www.national.gallery.ca/, via a Web cam that has been set up to provide an around-the-clock view of the Plaza.
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