Maman (sculpture)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Giant spider strikes again!.jpg
A bronze edition at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Artist Louise Bourgeois
Year 1999 (1999)
Type Sculpture
Material Stainless steel, bronze, marble
Dimensions 9271 x 8915 x 10236 mm
Not to be confused with Louise Bourgeois' similar sculptures: Spider or Crouching Spider

Maman (1999) is a bronze, stainless steel, and marble sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois. The sculpture, which depicts a spider, is among the world's largest, measuring over 30 ft high and over 33 ft wide (927 x 891 x 1024 cm).[1] It includes a sac containing 26 marble eggs and its abdomen and thorax are made up of ribbed bronze. The title is the familiar French word for Mother. The sculpture was created in 1999 by Bourgeois as a part of her inaugural commission of The Unilever Series (2000), in the Turbine Hall at London's Tate Modern.[1] This original was created in steel, with an edition of six subsequent castings in bronze.[2]

Philosophy and meaning[edit]

Sac containing marble eggs
At Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft, Zürich, 2011

The sculpture picks up the theme of the arachnid that Bourgeois had first contemplated in a small ink and charcoal drawing in 1947, continuing with her 1996 sculpture Spider.[3] It alludes to the strength of Bourgeois' mother, with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture and protection.[4] Her mother Josephine was a woman who repaired tapestries in her father's textile restoration workshop in Paris.[3] Bourgeois lost her mother at the age of twenty-one. A few days afterwards, in front of her father who did not seem to take his daughter’s despair seriously, she threw herself into the Bièvre River; he swam to her rescue.[5]

The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.

— Louise Bourgeois[4]

Permanent locations[edit]

Some of these editions in permanent collections often tour on exhibit:

  • Tate Modern, UK — The permanent acquisition of this sculpture in 2008 is considered one of the Tate Modern's historical moments. Maman was first exhibited in the turbine hall and later displayed outside the gallery in 2000. It is currently not on display. [6] It was received with the mixed reactions of amazement and amusement. The sculpture owned by the Tate Modern is the only one made from stainless steel. [4]
  • National Gallery of Canada, Canada — The National Gallery of Canada acquired the sculpture in 2005 for 3.2 million dollars. At that time, the price was deemed excessive by some critics, as it took around the third of the annual budget of the gallery.[7]

Temporary locations[edit]

Tours and featured exhibitions of Maman include:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d "Maman". Collections. The National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Manchester, Elizabeth (December 2009). "Summary". Louise Bourgeois : Maman 1999. Tate, London. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Louise Bourgeois, Spider (1996) Christie's Post-War Contemporary Evening Sale, 8 November 2011, New York.
  4. ^ a b c "Tate acquires Louise Bourgeois’s giant spider, Maman". Tate. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  5. ^ Louise Bourgeois, 5 March - 2 June 2008 Centre Pompidou, Paris.
  6. ^ "Maman". Collection. Tate Modern. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Home To Maman: getting to know the mother of all sculptures in the Ottawa landscape
  8. ^ Beaven, Kirstie. "Louise Bourgeois: Maman Work of the Week, 1 June 2010". Tate, London. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Martin, Amy. "Louise Bourgeois and Her Most Famous Piece: Maman". Art History. Answers Corporation. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Richmond, Simon; Dodd, Jan (Penguin, 2011). "Roppongi Hills". The Rough Guide to Japan (5th ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 223. ISBN 1405389265.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "Maman". Collection. Leeum. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Louise Bourgeois's Sculpture "Maman" on Tour Prior to Major Exhibition at Fondation Beyeler". Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  13. ^ a b de Arteaga, Alicia (February 13, 2011). "Una araña gigante en La Boca". La Nación. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  14. ^ Louise Bourgeois Solo Show to Open in Qatar
  15. ^ Louise Bourgeois: Conscious and Unconscious

External links[edit]