In this sculpture, a single, angled lintel links the upright elements, which the artist calls "personages"; she uses this abstracted human form as a highly personal totem. Created in her rooftop studio in New York City not long after she left France, this series of sculptures express her loneliness at being a foreigner in a strange city and her fears about her identity as mother, wife, and artist. The Detroit sculpture has six pairs of long, tapered legs, which appear to stand "on tiptoe" when viewed from one vantage point. From another, they are more firmly set on the ground. In either case, their delicate balance suggests an upward, not just forward, movement.
Artist Louise Bourgeois, American, 1911-2010
  • The Blind Leading the Blind
Date 1949
Medium wood and pigment
Dimensions Overall: 67 1/8 × 72 × 12 1/2 inches (170.5 × 182.9 × 31.8 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Buhl Ford, II Fund
Accession Number 79.2
Department Contemporary Art after 1950
Not On View
Signed Signed, initialed at top right: L B.
Inscriptions Inscribed, dated at back top: 1949
The collection of the artist.
1979-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
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Bloch, S. "An Interview with Louise Bourgeois." ART JOURNAL 35, no. 10 (Summer 1976): 370-372 (ill.).

Bulletin of the DIA 59, no. 1 (Spring 1981): 24-29 (ill.).