Louise Bourgeois explored themes related to sexuality, motherhood, and trauma through sculpture, painting, and printmaking, utilising techniques such as etching, lithography, and drypoint. If you’re looking for original Louise Bourgeois prints and editions for sale or would like to sell, request a complimentary valuation and browse our network’s most in-demand works.
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Louise Bourgeois was a renowned French American artist whose prolific career spanned over seven decades. Born in Paris in 1911, Bourgeois is best known for her large-scale sculptures and installations that powerfully explore themes of childhood memory, family, sexuality, desire, and the body. Although Bourgeois’ work is deeply personal, it resonates with a universal audience due to its evocative imagery and psychological intensity.
Bourgeois grew up in a family that ran a business restoring antique tapestries, immersing her in the world of textiles. She studied mathematics at the Sorbonne but turned to art after her mother's death in 1932. Bourgeois attended various art schools, including the École des Beaux-Arts, the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and the École du Louvre, where she encountered influential artists like Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp, and Constantin Brâncuși.
Image © Sotheby's/ Spider © Louise Bourgeois 1996
Louise Bourgeois' towering spider sculptures are a quintessential representation of her most emblematic body of work. Despite their imposing size, these sculptures are not intended to instil fear; rather, to be perceived as an elegant and mesmerising creation due to the conceptual nature of their limbs and their overall form as a visual lexicon. Their allure lies in the sheltering embrace they offer while simultaneously evoking a sense of unease through their ominous form.
This artwork is part of an edition of six plus one Artist Proof. Demonstrating its widespread international appeal, this piece realised £26,462,078 (including fees) at Sotheby's in May 2023, firmly establishing the work as Bourgeois' auction record. Two other editions of this work sold at Christie’s in May 2019 for £ 24,920,839 and again at Christie’s in November 2015 for £ 18,676,212 (fees included).
Image © Sotheby's / Spider IV (蜘蛛 IV) © Louise Bourgeois 1996
Possessing a commanding presence akin to her towering sculptures, Spider IV (1996) encapsulates the unique allure that permeates Bourgeois' body of work. Through its intricate wall mount configuration, this artwork springs to life with its extended, curved, and coiled limbs. This life-like state evokes a rich array of emotions and recurring themes in Bourgeois' artistic repertoire. With an extensive exhibition history, this piece achieved remarkable success at Sotheby's Hong Kong in April 2022, realising an equivalent to £13,104,746 (fees included). This price is a notable increase from its previous sale, also at Sotheby’s in November 2017, when it sold for £ 11,128,155 (fees included).
These two sales secure the positions of Bourgeois' fourth and fifth highest-selling masterpiece. The work is an edition of six plus one Artist Proof.
Image © Christie's / Spider II © Louise Bourgeois 1995
Demonstrating the resounding popularity of Louise Bourgeois' most recognisable creations, Spider II (1995) achieved an impressive sale at Christie's in November 2017, realising £8,782,296 (fees included) and securing its position as Bourgeois’ fifth highest-selling work. Diverging from the composition of Spider IV (1996), this particular variation showcases the spider in a state of equilibrium, with all limbs fully extended, as if caught in a frozen moment. This metaphorical suspension of time resonates with the recurring theme of memory, a profound presence within Bourgeois' artistic practice and an integral part of the ongoing exploration of her familial connections. Clinging to the wall with its sinuous legs, Spider II is an intricate study of form, inviting contemplation and analysis.
Image © Seoul Auction / Quarantania © Louise Bourgeois 1947-1953