Giant spider sets auction record — RT Games & Culture

Artist Louise Bourgeois’ enormous bronze work “Spider” set a record as the most valuable sculpture ever sold at auction by a female artist, fetching $32.8 million at Sotheby’s in New York on Thursday.

The 10-foot arachnid was the centerpiece of the night’s contemporary art auction and set a price record for works by Bourgeois, beating another ‘Spider’s $32.1 million. at a Christie’s auction in 2019.

Sotheby’s was keen to report that works by female artists accounted for $50.4 million of the $204.7 million made at the Contemporary sale and an Ultra-Contemporary auction taking place the same evening.

“Spider” previously belonged to Fundacao Itau, a foundation created by Itau Unibanco, and loaned to the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo, which exhibited it in museums in Brazil. It was originally purchased by Itau Unibanco founder Olavo Setubal for just $450,000 after being unveiled at the 23rd Sao Paulo Biennale in 1996.

The foundation reportedly sold the sculpture to fund education, health and cultural programs at Itau Cultural, a nonprofit organization it oversees.

Other editions of “Spider” are held by the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. Hauser & Wirth Gallery reportedly sold another “Spider” at Art Basel last year for an undisclosed amount.

Bourgeois, who only started making her signature spider sculptures when she was 80, said she was drawn to the creature because it reminded her of her mother. french for “mother” – a 30ft spider holding an egg sac full of white marble eggs. She continued to make art until her death in 2010 at the age of 98.

“Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1” by painter Georgia O’Keeffe remains the most expensive work by a female artist, fetching $44.4 million at auction at Sotheby’s in 2014.

Last year, an Andy Warhol print of actress Marilyn Monroe became the most expensive American work of art ever sold at public auction, fetching $195 million at a Christie’s sale. The identity of the buyer has not been made public.

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