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Photo: C.E. Mitchell

Eye Benches III

1996-1997

Louise Bourgeois

American (born French); born 1911, Paris; died 2010, New York

Louise Bourgeois' functional Eye Benches I, II, III resemble giant observant eyes. The three sets of two benches, carved out of granite by Italian stonemasons, are distinguished from one another by variations in scale, form, and detailing, and by the size of the attached seats. The enlargement and displacement of the eye recall the perspectives of Surrealism, a source for these images. Visitors encounter the disembodied eyes, which seem to follow their every movement, and later discover that the enigmatic sculptural objects provide comfortable outdoor seating.


Black Zimbabwe granite, 51 x 96 x 54 15/16 in. (129.5 x 243.8 x 139.6cm), Gift of the artist, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2005.115.1, © Louise Bourgeois

location
Now on view at Olympic Sculpture Park

They are the expression, in abstract terms, of emotions and states of awareness. Eighteenth century painters made 'conversation pieces'; my sculptures might be called 'confrontation pieces.'

Louise Bourgeois

Artist

Louise Bourgeois

American (born French); born 1911, Paris; died 2010, New York

Born in Paris in 1911, Louise Bourgeois entered the Sorbonne in 1932 to study mathematics, but turned to art the next year, studying at the École des Beaux Arts, and in artists' studios in Montparnasse and Montmartre. She moved to New York in 1938, and continued to study at the Art Students League; the first one-person exhibition of her paintings took place at Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York in 1945, and she first exhibited her sculpture at Periodot Gallery in 1950. The Museum of Modern Art presented a retrospective exhibition of Bourgeois' work in 1982. She represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1993; her work has been exhibited and collected by museums internationally.

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