Spider sculpture costs more than 16 million USD

Hong KongA 2-meter-tall spider sculpture – a metaphor for a mother – by artist Louise Bourgeois sold for $16.5 million.

Spider IV is one of 52 contemporary works to be auctioned at the Contemporary Evening Auction, organized by Sotheby’s, taking place on April 27 in Hong Kong. The sculpture was hammered at approximately 130 million HKD, the highest in the session and became the highest auctioned sculpture in Asia. 52 works were sold totaling nearly 750 million HKD (95.5 million USD).

Spider IV by Louise Bourgeois. Video: Sotheby’s

Spider IV is a famous work of famous French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010). The work was conceived in 1996, completed in 1997, 2 meters high. Spider IV The price increased by about 2 million USD compared to the time it was auctioned in the US in 2017.

Louise Bourgeois’ career is associated with works related to spiders. Outside Spider IV, The artist has made dozens of sculptures of this theme, varying in size and shape. Many of them are now located in art museums or on the streets of many countries around the world, such as the UK, Canada, Spain, the US, Japan… Among them are works of 9 meters high. .

Louise Bourgeois' bronze Spider IV with curling legs.  Photo: Sothebys

Spider IV’s work Louise Bourgeois’s bronze with curved legs. Image: Sotheby’s

According to The Value, the inspiration for Louise Bourgeois to create spider sculptures came from childhood memories. As a child, the artist lived in France, her father had an affair with an English tutor. Louise Bourgeois’ mother, suffering from a love triangle, died of illness.

The relationship between parents became an agonizing pain in Louise Bourgeois’s heart, creating complicated thoughts and feelings in her heart. After that, Louise Bourgeois studied art, expressing her feelings and emotions through her works.

Louise Bourgeois with Spider IV stainless steel version, 1996. Photo: Sothebys

Louise Bourgeois with Spider IV stainless steel version, 1996. Photo: Sothebys

Spiders are metaphors for Louise Bourgeois’ mother. According to the artist, spiders are skillful, hard-working, patient, carrying the maternal instinct – tolerant and protective, making others at peace. The artist once wrote: “Mother is my best friend. Like a spider, my mother works hard at weaving. My family works as a carpet restorer, my mother manages the work. Like a spider, my mother is also very skillful. Spiders are friends, they eat mosquitoes – disease-carrying insects that we don’t like. So spiders are useful when protecting others, like my mother.”

Louise Bourgeois' Colossal Maman is located in Zürich, Switzerland.  Photo: Publicdelivery

Louise Bourgeois’ Colossal Maman is located in Zürich, Switzerland. Image: Publicdelivery

Experts commented that Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculptures are unique and vivid enough to make viewers forget that they are inanimate bronze works. Page The Value Comment that they are both sentimental and mysterious. The spider sculpture looks sad but also full of power. With specific lines and materials, Louise Bourgeois turns her memories into objects that can be seen and touched. Prior to Spider IV, work Spider The 3.2 meter tall Louise Bourgeois was auctioned by Christie’s for $32 million in the US in 2019.

Nghinh Xuan (according to The Value)


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