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CALM DOWN LISON (working title)

Jean Frémon

  • Original Title: CALME-TOI, LISON
  • Publication date: January 2016
  • Publisher: P.O.L
  • Country: FR
  • 117 print pages
  • Biopics


  • Epoch: Mixed
  • Time Period: 20th century
  • Location setting: France, United States
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Looking back on one's life, Life choice, FAMILY, Couple, Personal fulfilment, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Multiculturalism, Integration, Social climbing, Commitment, CHARACTERS, Strong Female Character


An original portrait of Louise Bourgeois, a woman who devoted her life to art and who was recognised belatedly as one of the major artists of our times.


Translation rights sold: UK, US, Spain

This is the portrait of a woman who devoted her life to her art, a life that belongs to her century, and who was only recognized belatedly as one of the major artists of our times. Droll, touching, empathetic, respectful and documented, Jean Frémon’s book is resolutely a work of fiction, giving voice to the artist in a way that "incites us to wonder to what extent the dead seized the living" (Libération). It expresses from the inside the tragic tensions bordering on neurosis and the childish light-heartedness, and doing so, "gives to Louise Bourgeois a fascinating and moving closeness" (Art Press).
Everything is imagined here, as opposed to biography. But everything is possible, the moods, the projects, the resentments and the modesty.

‘Jean Frémon is a wholly singular artist, a writer who lives in the radiant zone where poetry, philosophy and storytelling meet.’ – Paul Auster

This is an absolutely gem of a book. Only 128 pages long the author has put himself in the body and mind of Louise Bourgeois who is kind of writing a long letter to herself. Superbly written, witty, poetic, completely fresh.

Jean Frémon is a writer and a gallerist and worked with Louise Bourgeois on her first European exhibition, in 1985, at the Galerie Lelong, as well as on the last exhibition she organised herself, at the Maison de Balzac in Paris.


Louise Bourgeois, born in Paris in 1915, emigrated to the United States in 1938 after marrying Robert Goldwater, the esteemed art historian. From the forties till the eighties, she developed an important body of art as a sculptor without the art world paying any real attention to her. It is only in 1982 that she had an exhibition in New York at the MOMA, and the first time that a woman received such an honour.
From then on, her work never stopped attracting audiences while steadily achieving greater audacity and freedom.
Jean Frémon’s book is expresses from the inside the tragic tensions bordering on neurosis and the childish light-heartedness of one of the greatest artists of the century.

French MS

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