An exhibition of modern and contemporary works of art in conversation with the Museum’s historic collection.

‘The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver.’ – Louise Bourgeois, 2001

This landmark exhibition presented an opportunity to explore the Museum’s historic collection in a new light.

The Mother & The Weaver took the unseen mother, a central part of the Foundling Museum’s story, as a point of departure to explore complex ideas around motherhood, childhood, love, loss, sexuality and identity. Occupying the whole museum, this landmark exhibition showed over 40 works from the Ursula Hauser Collection, all by women artists, in conversation with historic objects and works of art from the Foundling Museum’s collection.

The exhibition presented modern and contemporary works of art in a variety of media, including painting, textiles, sculpture, video and works on paper. The internationally celebrated artists on display included Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas, Luchita Hurtado, Maria Lassnig, Sonia Gomes and Pipilotti Rist.

Maternal presence or absence, and the complex emotions that each arouses, informs many of the works in the exhibition. Others are more suggestive, hinting at complex histories of displacement and fractured identity. Themes and ideas around what it means to be a ‘good’ mother or woman, explored in the contemporary works, took on new and forceful meanings in the context of the Foundling Museum.

By presenting these works in juxtaposition with the Museum’s collection, visitors were invited to explore our stories with fresh eyes.

Ursula Hauser has been building her collection of modern and contemporary art since the 1980s. She selects artworks that captivate and move her, and places a special emphasis on female artists.

The exhibition was supported by Taylor Wessing and The 1739 Club.

Above image: Detail of Louise Bourgeois, The Birth, 2007, Ursula Hauser Collection, Switzerland © The Easton Foundation / VAGA at ARS, NY and DACS, London 2023. Photo courtesy The Easton Foundation and Hauser & Wirth, Photographer Christopher Burke

Watch our exhibition trailer here!

Explore the Museum’s historic collection in a new light...

★★★★ an intimate show in a London gem
The Times
A powerful group show
Harper's Bazaar
The Mother & The Weaver is surely one of the best exhibitions to see in London this winter
The Glossary