Published: October 29, 2015
NEW YORK CITY — One of the most enduring and iconic sculptures by Louise Bourgeois is taking up residence at Christie’s 20 Rockefeller Plaza from Halloween — October 31, until November 12.
On November 10, at the firm’s postwar and contemporary art evening sale, “Spider,” one of the largest works by the artist ever offered at auction, will cross the block. Estimated $25/35 million, the mammoth bronze arachnid is expected to surpass the artist’s current record of $10.7 million, established in 2011 by Christie’s New York for a different edition of “Spider,” and is set to make history for the sale of a sculpture by a female artist.
Acquired in 1997 by the present owner, this “Spider” has been featured prominently in every major Bourgeois retrospective, including the Prada Foundation, Milan; the Foundation Belem and Malmo Konsthall, Lisbon; the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Kyungki-Do, Korea, and many others.
With its combination of irregular, hand-worked surfaces and smooth, highly finished elements, the spider form is a complex mix of menace and emotion. Stretching upward over ten feet, “Spider’s” exaggerated legs recall the arches of so many Gothic cathedrals. Its yarn-like body suspended in air, “Spider’s” form becomes an airy mass—creating a space of both asylum and inquisition. A source of extreme fear for some, the artist’s giant spider cannot help but conjure up cult American science fiction movies of the late 1950s, exploiting the notion of arachnophobia by positing the end of the Earth through the diabolical acts of an eight-legged monster. For Bourgeois however, the spider takes on a more personal role, acting as the embodiment of her own turbulent autobiography.
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