Born in Paris on Christmas day of 1911, Louise Bourgeois is a sculptor known for her monumental and often biomorphic works and installations that deal with childhood memory, identity, and the relationships between human beings.

Her parents owned a gallery that dealt primarily with antique tapestries, and she started drawing as a kid to assist her parents in their restoration business. Her mother died in 1932 while Bourgeois was studying mathematics. Her mother’s death inspired her to abandon mathematics and to begin studying art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and the studio of Fernand Leger. Also in this period, Bourgeois took a job as a docent, leading tours at the Musèe du Louvre. In 1938, she opened her gallery, where she showed the work of artists such as Henri Matisse and Suzanne Valadon and met visiting American art professor Robert Goldwater. They married, and she moved to New York with him (the marriage would last until Goldwater died in 1973).