Louise Bourgeois’s towering spider sculpture, which was exhibited in Monaco’s Boulingrins gardens last year, has managed to spin its web around a record-breaking amount of money: 38 million euros to be precise. The steel work of art, which stands at 3 metres tall, was recently purchased at auction by a European collector from the Hauser & Wirth gallery, making it the most expensive spider in history.
The inaugural Hauser & Wirth exhibition ‘Louise Bourgeois, Maladie de l’Amour’ which opened on 19 June 2021, showed the monumental sculpture from the French-American artist’s Spider series, installed in the centre of Monaco. Beside the outdoor exhibition space, Hauser & Wirth’s new gallery also has an indoor exhibition space, a 290 square metre room lit by a dramatic skylight and designed by architects from New York.
“When we were invited to play a part in the continuing revival of the art scene in Monaco,” says Iwan Wirth, President, Hauser & Wirth, “we saw that it offered an exceptional opportunity to present our artists in the heart of city, engaging with the vibrant contemporary scene across the south of France, strengthening our European presence.”
Louise Bourgeois’s record sale was once set at €31.5 million during a Christie’s auction in 2019, for another spider sculpture from the same series. Louise Bourgeois lived through the 20th century and died in 2010 at the age of 99.
“If you can’t bring yourself to abandon the past, then you have to recreate it, and that’s what I’ve always done,” explained the artist. Through her powerful, dreamlike works, she managed to reimagine memories and childhood traumas. Her spider series, made in 1996, and her 1999 spider sculpture titled ‘Maman’ were created as an ode to the loving but tumultuous relationship that the artist shared with her mother.