Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis


Art History

Second Department

French Studies

Reader 1

Juliet Koss

Reader 2

France Lemoine

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© 2014 Lauren Ambielli


During her early career as a sculptor, the French artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) experimented with various methods of representing the female body in a state of dismemberment or fragmentation. Despite the transgression latent within such sculptures, critics and scholars alike interpreted Bourgeois’s oeuvre from a psycho-biographical angle. In doing so, they suggested that her art was rooted in a personal—as opposed to political—consciousness. This thesis analyzes some of the reasons behind this common method of interpretation, looking specifically at the personal myth that Bourgeois promoted in order to gain acceptance in the art world. In addition, this work questions the ways in which the artist masked the gendered transgression in two sculptural self-portraits through unique adaptations to Modernist traditions.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.