Art Basel, large spider by Louise Bourgeois sold for $40 million

It is Louise Bourgeois' Spider the most expensive work sold at Art Basel's VIP preview. Price: $40 million.

Art Basel, the modern and contemporary art fair held annually in Basel, has yet to officially open to the public (June 16-19) that has already sold a work to the tune of $40 million. In fact, during the VIP preview, a large, three-meter-tall sculpture depicting a huge steel spider by French sculptor Louise Bourgeois (Paris, 1911 - New York, 2010) was purchased.

The statue, titled Spider and created in 1996, stood in Hauser & Wirth ’s booth and was the most expensive sale reported during the preview of the international fair, which attracted top collectors including Leon Black, Uli Sigg and Richard Chang.

Marc Payot, president of the well-known gallery, let it be known that the work was sold to a European client and that the sale was arranged before the fair. In fact, the sculpture had previously been exhibited in the Hauser & Wirth space in Munich last year and in London in 2016. The Spider is one of the most iconic works of the 20th century and evokes the artist’s experience as a young man in his family’s tapestry restoration workshop, thus recalling the figure of his mother, a weaver who passed away when the artist was just 20 years old.

The 1996 Spider thus enters the list of works made by a female artist to be sold at a high price. The best auction result for a work by a woman was achieved by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed / White Flower No. 1, which sold at Sotheby’s in 2014 for $44.4 million. Louise Bourgeois’ auction record is $32 million for a 1996 spider like the one in the Hauser & Wirth booth. It was sold by Christie’s in 2019.

Image: Louise Bourgeois, Spider (1996; steel). Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

Art Basel, large spider by Louise Bourgeois sold for $40 million
Art Basel, large spider by Louise Bourgeois sold for $40 million

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