Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Louise Bourgeois (American, 1911–2010)

The She–Fox, 1985

Black marble and steel

70 1/2 x 27 x 32 in. (179.1 x 68.6 x 81.3 cm)


Gift of Camille Oliver-Hoffman
2008.22

The She-Fox embodies many of the elements that distinguish Louise Bourgeois’s artwork: an innovative use of traditional sculptural materials, a deeply personal yet abstracted subject, and an aggressive depiction of the body. The sculpture combines abstracted anatomical features and bold, almost violent references to the female figure.

Bourgeois said The She-Fox, like many of her works, expressed her conflicted feelings toward her mother: “[In this work] I cut off her head, and I slit her throat… How could she possibly like me if I treat her that way? I couldn’t live if I thought she didn’t like me.” Below one leg, a miniature portrait of the artist’s head rests submissively, as if the maternal figure is protecting her.