Please note: Crouching Spider is no longer installed on the Dartmouth campus.
Bronze, stainless steel, silver nitrate, polished patina
Estate of Louise Bourgeois
For more than seven decades, Louise Bourgeois pursued conflicting psychological and emotional impulses to create intensely autobiographical sculptures that also addressed universal themes, such as alienation, identity, sexuality, and death. Bourgeois was first exposed to art as a young child when she helped her mother, Joséphine, dye fabrics and repair medieval tapestries in the family's textile restoration business in Paris. Widely considered to be one of the artist's most important works of public art, Crouching Spider was intended as an ode to her mother, who died when Bourgeois was twenty-one years old and just beginning her career as an artist. "She was my best friend," Bourgeois later recalled. "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."
The sculpture uses metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture, and protection that are commonly associated with arachnids to allude to the strength, skill, intelligence, and kindness of her beloved mother, whose tenacious spirit inspired her daughter's uncompromising vision as a sculptor.
Click here to read the press release about the loan of this work to Dartmouth College in 2012–13.
Press Coverage: Click here for The Dartmouth. Click here for the Manchester, N.H., Union Leader. Click here for the Dartmouth Now feature. Click here for the Valley News article about the arts at Dartmouth and Crouching Spider.
Last Updated: 5/22/14