Lot 5
  • 5

LOUISE BOURGEOIS | Hanging Janus with Jacket

250,000 - 350,000 USD
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  • Louise Bourgeois
  • Hanging Janus with Jacket
  • stamped with the artist's initials, number 2/6 and date 1992
  • bronze
  • 10 5/8 by 20 5/8 by 6 3/8 in. 27 by 52.4 by 16.2 cm.
  • Conceived in 1968 and cast in 1992, this work is number 2 from an edition of 6, plus 1 artist's proof.


Cheim & Read, New York
Baumgartner Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1999


New York, Museum of Modern Art; Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum; Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Louise Bourgeois: Retrospective, November 1982 - January 1984, p. 75, pl. 96, illustrated (another example exhibited)
Paris, Galerie Maeght-Lelong; Zurich, Galerie Maeght-Lelong, Louise Bourgeois: Retrospektive 1947-1984, February - April 1985, n.p. (another example exhibited)
Zurich, Galerie Lelong, Louise Bourgeois: 100 Zeichnungen 1939-1989, September - October 1989, n.p. (another example exhibited)
Frankfurter Kunstverein; Munich, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus; Lyon, Musée d’art Contemporain; Barcelona, Fundació Antoni Tàpies; Bern, Kunstmuseum; Otterlo, Kroller-Muller-Museum,  Louise Bourgeois: A Retrospective Exhibition, December 1989 - August 1991, p. 125, no. 66, illustrated  (another example exhibited)
Galerie Krinzinger Wien, Louise Bourgeois 1939-89 Skulpturen und Zeichnungen, May - June 1990 (another example exhibited)
New York, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, Concurrencies, December 1992 - January 1993 (another example exhibited)
Salzburger Kunstverein, Real Sex, October - December 1993, n.p., illustrated (another example exhibited)
Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Revolution in Contemporary Art: The Art of the Sixties, September - December 1995 (another example exhibited)
Monterrey, MARCO; Seville, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo; Mexico City, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Louise Bourgeois, June 1995 - May 1996, p. 68, pl. 43, illustrated (another example exhibited)
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Taboos, March - May 1998 (another example exhibited)
East Hampton, Guild Hall Museum, Personal and Political: The Woman's Art Movement, 1969-1975,  August - October 2002 (another example exhibited)
Kunsthaus Bregenz; Warsaw, Zacheta Gallery of Art; Berlin, Akademie der Kunste, Louise Bourgeois: Drawings and Sculpture, June 2002 - June 2003, pp. 78-79, illustrated (another example exhibited)
Havana, Wilfredo Lam Center, Louise Bourgeois: One and Others, February - April 2005 (another exampled exhibited)
Santiago de Compostela, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Gender Battle, September - December 2007 (another example exhibited)
London, Tate Modern, London; Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Louise Bourgeois: Retrospective, October 2007 - June 2008, p.162, no. 148, illustrated (another example exhibited)
Kunsthalle Bielefeld, The Great Innocents, March - August 2009, p. 400, illustrated (another example exhibited) 
Buenos Aires, Fundación PROA; São Paulo, Instituto Tomie Ohtake; Rio de Janeiro, Museo de Arte Moderna, Louise Bourgeois: El Retorno de lo Reprimido, March -November 2011, n.p., pl. 31, illustrated (another example exhibited)
Kunsthalle Wien, Le Surrealisme, C’est Moi!  Homage to Salvador Dali, June - October 2011, p. 82, illustrated (another example exhibited)
New York, Cheim & Read, Louise Bourgeois: Suspension, October 2014 - January 2015, n.p., illustrated (another example exhibited)
Berlin, Deutsches Historisches Museum and Schwules Museum; Munster, LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Homosexualities, June 2015 - September 2016 (another example exhibited)
Potomac, Glenstone, Louise Bourgeois: To Unravel a Torment, May - September 2018, p. 51, illustrated (another example exhibited)


Robert Storr, Paulo Herkenhoff, Allan Schwartzman, Eds., Louise Bourgeois, United Kingdom 2003, p. 119, illustrated
Mignon Nixon, Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art, United Kingdom 2005, p. 241, illustrated
Olesya Turkina, Louise Bourgeois: Pandora’s Box, Russia 2015, n.p., no. 11, illustrated Robert Storr, Intimate Geometries: The Art and Life of Louise Bourgeois, New York 2016, p. 339, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Visibly and metaphorically suspended between dualities, Louise Bourgeois’ Hanging Janus with Jacket elegantly articulates the myriad conflicts and themes at the heart of the artist’s oeuvre. At once male and female, threatening and vulnerable, durable and fragile, unnerving and alluring, its tense equilibrium and primal physicality masterfully illustrate the psychological, emotional, and sexual forces that drive Bourgeois’ inimitable work. One of four variations from her hanging Janus series, another edition of this work was included in the artist’s 2010 retrospective, which travelled to Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. As with the very best examples of Bourgeois’ prodigious output, Hanging Janus with Jacket acts as a kind of self-portrait through catharsis, a psychological interior made outward, a physical reconciliation of divergent poles and conflicting forces, united in a single form. Janus, for whom this work is named, is the Roman god of conflicts, passages, transitions, beginnings, and endings, usually depicted with two faces, as he looks to both the future and the past. Bourgeois translates this profoundly ambiguous entity into a sensual presence, drawing together opposing forces into a single duo-cephalic figure. Its torso is playfully hidden by a metallic “jacket,” the razor-sharp edges in stark contrast to the tumescent, organic forms which curl inwards beneath it, softly drooping yet also poised like pincers. An evocative visual pun on male and female forms, the biomorphic heads of Hanging Janus with Jacket incite both an uncanny discomfiture and an arousing curiosity.

Suspending the sculpture from a wire accentuates its vulnerability and intensifies the state of fluctuation in which it exists, as the piece is free to rotate, offering a constantly shifting viewpoint. ‘Hanging is important,’ Bourgeois has said, ‘because it allows things to turn around. It is very helpless, it changes the hierarchy of the work; the base disappears’ (the artist quoted in F. Bonami, ‘In a Strange Way, Things are Getting Better and Better,’ Flash Art vol. XXVII no. 174, January 1994, p. 39). Hovering at eye level, Hanging Janus with Jacket is simultaneously pendulous yet affixed, the permanence of its material juxtaposed against its perpetual weightless motion, heightening its inherent ambiguity. Demonstrating the artist’s gift for visual wit, this work is a profound philosophical achievement skillfully balanced at the intersections of life, art, sex, and consciousness.