Le Trani Episode
stamped the artist's initials, number, foundry mark and casting date 'LB 2/6 MAF 05' (on the underside)
bronze with silver nitrate and gold patina, in two parts
778 x 11 x 11 in. (20 x 28 x 28 cm.)
Executed in 1971, this work is number two from an edition of six, plus one artist's proof
Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
A. Malik, Sarah Lucas Au Naturel, London 2009, p. 26 (another example illustrated in colour).
E. Buhr & P. Esrafily, 'Grande Maman', in Monopol, March 2010, p. 48 (another example illustrated in colour).
Frankfurt, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Louise Bourgeois, 1989-1990, p. 189, no. 81 (plaster and latex version exhibited and illustrated, p. 126).
Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Louise Bourgeois: Skulpturen und Installationen, 1994, p. 197 no. 42 (larger bronze version exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 42; studio view of plaster version illustrated, p. 63).
London, Tate, Louise Bourgeois, 2007-2009, pp. 288 and 313, fig. 276 (plaster and latex version exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 289). This exhibition later travelled to Paris, Centre Pompidou; New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art and Washington, D.C., The Hischhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Warsaw, Zacheta Gallery of Art, Revolutions of 1968, 2008 (another example exhibited).
Arnhem, Museum of Modern Art, Rebelle: Art and Feminism 1969-2009, 2009 (another example exhibited).
Berlin, Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, Hans Bellmer, Louise Bourgeois – Double Sexus, 2010-2011, p. 149 (another from the edition exhibited and illustrated in colour). This exhibition later travelled to The Hague, Gemeentemuseum; Columbus, Wexner Center for the Arts and Ohio, Ohio State University.
Buenos Aires, Fundación PROA, Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, 2011-2012 (larger bronze version exhibited). This exhibition later travelled to Sao Paulo, Instituto Tomie Ohtake; Rio de Janeiro, Museu de Arte Moderna and London, The Freud Museum.
London, The Freud Museum, Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, 2012 (another from the edition exhibited).
Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Louise Bourgeois: Petite Maman, 2013-2014, pl. 18 (another example exhibited).
Beijing, Faurschou Foundation Beijing, Louise Bourgeois: Alone and Together, 2013-2014, p. 68 (another from the edition exhibited and illustrated in colour, p. 73; installation view illustrated in colour, p. 70). This exhibition later travelled to Copenhangen, Faurschou Foundation Copenhagen.

Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Please note this lot is the property of a consumer. See H1 of the Conditions of Sale.
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

‘I made a drawing of breasts pressed against each other; there was a double attitude to be like a mother, and to be liked by a mother … the lips kiss like sucking. The whole person becomes a breast that stretches in order to give’ - Louise Bourgeois

Created in 1971, Le Trani Episode is a captivating example of Louise Bourgeois’ sensuous, psychologically-charged sculpture. Two tender, elongated shapes rest together in intimate union, tactile and lustrous in polished, silvered bronze; one has a golden nipple at both ends, creating a dual phallic and breast-like impression. This startling merger of sexual symbols – collapsing such polarities as male and female, penis and breast, soft and hard – is typical of Bourgeois’ work, which takes a deep dive into the fundamental forms of the human psyche.

Continually bringing her past into conversation with the present, many of Bourgeois’ works relate to the close childhood bond she shared with her mother, who died young in 1932: both had suffered difficult relationships with Bourgeois’ philandering father. The artist described her mother as ‘deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and useful’ (L. Bourgeois, Ode à ma mere, Paris 1995, p. 62). She gave birth to her own first child in 1940. The soft, mammary bodies of Le Trani Episode are fertile with meaning, suggesting a primal image of maternal nurture, sensuality and mutual affection.

As Bourgeois once explained, ‘since I am exclusively concerned, at least consciously, with formal perfection, I allow myself to follow blindly the images that suggest themselves to me. There has always been sexual suggestiveness in my work. Sometimes I am totally concerned with female shapes – clusters of breasts like clouds – but often I merge the imagery – phallic breasts, male and female, active and passive’ (L. Bourgeois, quoted in D. Wye, Louise Bourgeois, New York 1982, pp. 26-27). Poised at the intersections of sex, life, art and subconscious, works like Le Trani Episodecan be seen as a form of physical autobiography, bringing the ambiguous shapes of an emotional interior into the world.
Post Lot Text
This lot has been imported from outside the EU for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on the invoice. Please see Conditions of Sale for further information.

Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot. You must pay us an extra amount equal to the resale royalty and we will pay the royalty to the appropriate authority. Please see the Conditions of Sale for further information.

Related Articles

Sorry, we are unable to display this content. Please check your connection.

More from
Dialogues: Modern and Contemporary Art
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report