Louise Bourgeois ( 1911 - 2010)
Distant Figures
Marble and stainless steel
© 2023 The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photograph courtesy of Sotheby’s, Inc.
Modern Art Gallery

Description of Distant Figures

NARRATOR: The sculpture that you are in front of is entitled Distant Figures and was made in 1971 by an artist named Louise Bourgeois using marble and stainless steel. This abstract sculpture is 46 inches wide by 22 inches tall by 30.5 inches deep and features several long marble columns of varying heights and widths that are clustered together on the right side of a large marble slab. It is not clear where the stainless steel element is located in this work—perhaps it is used inside of the columns for support. The sculpture spans from about one arm's length in width and from the floor to one's knee in height and roughly from one's elbow to one's fingertips in depth and it sits on a low rectangular white pedestal.

The large marble slab that the clustered forms are grounded on has a matte-textured top that is a mottled sandy color. There are delicate gray sections and meandering gray lines running through the top of the slab. The bottom portion of the slab is, by contrast, much more rough-hewn where the artist carved the sculpture into its irregular rectangular shape with rounded corners. This portion of the sculpture is also a slightly darker brown color with areas of brownish red. In several places, there are distinctive vertical or horizontal chisel marks that are lighter gray or white in color.

There are 34 long cylindrical columns of varying heights and widths ranging in diameter of about 1 inch to 3 inches, clustered into an oval shape on top of the right side of the marble slab. The taller columns form the outer portion of the oval, while the shorter columns are located on the inside of the oval. These columns are highly polished to achieve a slippery, shiny surface. All of the columns have smooth, rounded tops except for the shortest one on the left side of the oval, which has a broken upward-tilting edge like a tube of lipstick.

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