While we knew that Louise Bourgeois’ $10,722,500 sale last night was impressive, a new auction record for the artist and perhaps even record-breaking in a more general sense, it took us some time to calculate exactly what other milestone might have been broken. Here we go: the sale is highest work ever sold for a post-war work by a female artist.
At $10.72 million, Ms. Bourgeois’s work comes very close to the $10.86 million world record for a female artist, which was set by Natalia Goncharova’s Les Fleurs (1912) at Christie’s London in 2008. So Ms. Bourgeois’ Spider, cast in 1996, remains in a category of its own for being a contemporary work. Ms. Bourgeois died last year, otherwise she’d have set a new record for a living female artist, a title currently held by Yayoi Kusama.
It also set another record: it’s now the most expensive work ever to be photographed next to Spider-Man. Second place there goes to an extremely valuable Tamara de Lempicka that was kidnapped when the Green Goblin was redoing his apartment and everything just had to be art deco. So there’s that too.