Giant Louise Bourgeois spider sculpture sells for $32.8 million
Louise Bourgeois's massive spider sculpture sells at an auction, setting a new record.
Sotheby's reported on Friday that a 10-foot-high bronze spider set a new auction record for a sculpture by a female artist.
Louise Bourgeois's 1996 "Spider," which measures more than 10 feet tall and more than 18 feet across, sold for $32.8 million including fees at a New York auction on Thursday evening. The sale also set a new auction record for a work by Bourgeois.
Only four of the spider sculptures of the French-American artist have ever been auctioned. Another sold for $32.1 million with fees in May 2019 at Christie's in New York.
Georgia O'Keeffe's artwork "Jimson Weed," purchased for $44.4 million by Walmart heiress Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas in 2014, still holds the auction record for any work by a female artist. The sculpture sold on Thursday evening was previously owned by Brazil’s Fundação Itaú.
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Bourgeois, who died in 2010 at the age of 98, didn't start making spiders until she was in her 80s, but the towering animals became her most famous works.
Many of the world's finest institutions have sculptures from the series on display, including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Dia Beacon in New York, and Tate Modern in London.
The sculpture "made both a record-breaking price for Louise Bourgeois and also became the most valuable sculpture ever made by a woman artist," according to Kelsey Leonard, head of Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Auction in New York.
“Bourgeois’ Spiders are undoubtedly a real masterpiece of 20th-century art. Beloved across the globe, these powerful yet tender sculptures hold a commanding presence, one that was on full display in our galleries this season,” Leonard added.