This war and birth will be addressed in

This essay demonstrates the comparison between “Woman
seated in the underground” which was drawn by Henry Moore OM, CH in 1941 during
the second world war and Louise Bourgeois’s who was French-American feminist
artist and sculptor “Birth” in 1994. Therefore, we are going to explore the two
drawings that are picked to be compared the past and the current of feminism
and the relationship between art, war and women.

In the following, how women were thought and expected to
be in the past will be compared to how people think about women has changed

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As the two artists have experienced world wars and had a
fear of the world wars, we will also explore about the world wars and how they
are related to feminism and women as a mother. Men went the military and were
sent to fight in the wars, therefore what women did during the war and how they
suffered from the deaths of their sons, husbands and fathers in the wars as
mothers and wives will be described. In addition, as these two drawings show
the different aspects, images and roles of women and how the two women are portrayed
differently by the two artists of different sex, the differences will be
compared to each other, furthermore, we would compare how the viewpoints of
them on women from the different backgrounds and childhoods of them are
different with what techniques and mediums they used to express their thoughts in
the two drawings of them and it will be further explored how they help us to
understand the two drawings in this essay. In addition, the connections between
women within war and birth will be addressed in this essay with the
relationship with feminism.


Bourgeois’s art is her experience. “everything I do was
inspired by my early life.” (Moma,1982). Bourgeois’s artworks are reflected her
childhood memories, traumas, and fear of abandonment, her mother’s illness and
death also infidelities of her father and the horrors of the first world war as
Josephine who is Bourgeois’s mother contracted the Spanish flu right after the
war and never fully recovered. (Louise Bourgeois 2008, P.163) “I am afraid to
be alone, I am scared of death, I am ready to run away” (Louise Bourgeois 2008,

As she mentioned she had three frames of references which
were her father, mother and her children and they were all stuck together. (Louise
Bourgeois 2008, P.130).


Birth is one of Louise Borugeois’s series
“Autobiographical Series” that she captured the painful moment of the baby
leaving the mother’s body and is based on motherhood. Therefore, she put the
representation of hers into the body. It was drawn by drypoint on a paper which
is 236 x 182 mm, while Moore used dark ink, water colour, gouache and crayon on
a paper which is 483 x 381 mm.  And we
can find the sizes of mothers and baby’s are the same size, it emphasises the
pain that the mother is having is excruciating and also her expression makes
the pain look strong. However, on the other hand, the baby is sleeping in peace
unlike the mother. It seems the mother is pushing her baby out of her belly herself
and her hair is holding the baby. She was inspired from by a drawing that she
drew when she had the birth of her second son in 1941. It shows the different
situations between the mother and the baby. We could find the mother is a
strong material as she is handling the birth herself independently. Tate modern
says this work shows the trauma of birth.


They both were a sculptor. In both of the drawings, women
are representative of the period and situations but in Louise Bourgeois’s
Birth, the mother is representative of her life. On the other hand, in Woman
seated in the underground, The woman is representation of the female during the
war.  there is a woman who sits down in
the London underground, and we could see she does not sit down with the other
people in the back. It shows she is in another situation unlike them and makes
the woman more focused.  it could show
the mood of sadness, anxiety and loneliness and the artist may illustrate that
the people and the lady were covered by dust from the war and the gloomy
atmosphere at that time due to the war is also shown by using a dark. And she
crosses her hands which looks she is waiting for something and feeling nervous.
(Tate, (n.d.) Henry Moore OM, CH
Woman Seated in the Underground 1941.)  By smudged outline in white oil crayon, the
long tunnel seems endless and shows the distance between the woman with others
and the people behind were inspired from the sleeping and huddled bodies of
people in the packed sheltering platform for refuge from the attack on his way
back from a dinner party with his wife as he said “I was fascinated by the
sight of people camping out deep underground.” (Tate) The woman is
representation of the female during the war. On the catalogue entry of the
drawing, it says this is inspired by the war. (Tate, (n.d.) Henry Moore OM, CH Woman Seated
in the Underground 1941.). Therefore,
we could guess, the lady is waiting for her parents, father, husband or son who
had gone to the war also the other people in the back evacuated from the war to
a safe place where is the London underground. Henry Moore illustrated the
situation and the details of her clothes, hair, and the anxious pose by crayon
in detail. Especially, she is swathed in layers to express the texture,
wrinkles and shadows. Moreover, the technique that he created makes this
drawing look scratchy and sharp also brings fear. For representing the distance
between the space where she sits down and the back, he mixed yellow to make the
brighter dark tone and blue for the background. By the distance, the lady stands
our more in the drawing.

For comparing with Birth, Louise Bourgeois had used
drypoint more than the other techniques she used.

But they mainly used black and white in both of the


why do some artists show women always such as the role
expected of women in the wars is waiting for their husbands or sons behind wars
in the past and still? They could be shown as strong and independent women as
they actually are.

In the Birth, we could found a brave and a tenacity on
the mother’s expression, it is shown she is responsible to give birth to her
baby and bears the pain by herself. “a woman who carries packages is
responsible for what she carries and they are very fragile, and she is totally responsible.
it is a fear of not being a good mother”

(Louise Bourgeois 2008, P.174).


Judith A. DiIlorio who is an assistant professor of
sociology and director of the women’s studies programme at the Department of
Sociology and Anthropology, at Indiana University and Purdue University says
“Men make war; women make peace. Men make war; women make children. Men make
war because women make children. Because men make war, women make children.
Women make peace because they make children.”




Henry Moore usually drew the Londoners sleeping or
escaping in the London shelter underground during the wars as he and also his
drawings were based on the women body as well. Therefore, we could find women
were at that time by Henry Moore’s drawing as his art works are based on the
people sheltering in the London underground and the female body and they were
drawn during the second world war.


We agree the first world war and the second world war may
have been fought by men mostly but, during the wars, men were not only victims,
people could think women did not get sent to fight and got killed as men and
soldiers. As in The War From Within p.22, men were thought with “soldiers”,
women were thought with “what are protected by soldiers” and on the one hand “who
soldiers are took care of from” women suffer from losing their fathers,
husbands and sons as mothers and as wives. This was usually believed that what
women did during the wars. Women were usually thought as mothers and wives of
men who provided their sons and were sitting down for waiting for them coming
back safely

Mostly women and child were drawn in the shelter drawings
because most of men were sent to fight in the war. they must have had a hard
time as they provided their sons into the wars. As it is drawn of what Moore
actually saw, it represents women during first world war. but bourgeois’s birth
is not based on what she saw, however it is inspired from her real life.


The stereotypes of women.


At that century, this male artist focused on the lady
waiting for her love in the war as people usually had the stereotype of the
women in the century. But in the century, in the UK, women played an important
role. British women had helped to men with () to support

British women were asked to work for war as mechanics,
engineers, munitions workers, air raid wardens, and also got trained for
driving bus and fire engine from March 1941. On the 2nd August 1914,
the Bavarian queen Marie Therese said, Hildegard, Helmtrude and Gundelinde who
are the daughters of her volunteered to help at the service of the red cross and
Adelgunde and Wiltrude were working in the welfare field from 1870 to 1871. And
it changed the stereotype, the position and the definition of women in war
positively. As the Bavarian Queen Marie Threse, Young women who aged 20 – 30
were summoned to work at first but the percentage of single women and married
women who were summoned to work in factories and as nurses in hospitals in the
farms where the war was happening in 1943 were about 90 percent and 80 percent
respectively. Moreover, they got a uniform and lived in the area where they got
sent to work as men.  A lot of women also
were sent to help the people from dying of hunger who were in the London
undergrounds while men were fighting in the war. Not only British women, In the
United States and Germany, they served during the world war 2 at home also in
uniform as well. Eleanor Roosevelt, who was an American
politician, diplomat and activist, said the following in 1860: “A woman is
like a tea bag.; we never know how strong she is until she gets in hot
water.” (The Wit and Wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt, P199, 1996.)

people would not know the help from women would help the war
a lot and they would do the same works as mens they may not know women had a
power that they could do the same things as men did with before women were put
into the war.



According to previous historical periods, women were the
main key of the end of the war.(Angela Y. Davis. P19. Feminism and War: Confronting
U.S. Imperialism.)


Angela T. Davis
who is professor of History of Consciousness, and Feminist Studies, at the
University of California Santa Cruz said ‘the main key of the anti- war
movement is women, even though we could not say they were the definite people
who spoke and were able to move past single issue syndrome that focused only
one ‘ending the war.’


made “Femme Pieu” which is a headless, legless, helpless, armless woman as a
pincushion, lying on the back such as an upended turtle  to say that woman can fight back. P142(

also got a trauma of abandonment when her father went to the world war and
never came back. Therefore, the soldiers came back from the front at night and her
fear of the world war began since she faced this situation.


In the late 1930s, Louise was fearing of infertility, so
her first child Michel was adopted, and she said it made her hysterical and
emotionally upset.

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