Skip Navigation

Hairy Spider

Contemporary Art

While spiders may be threatening creatures to many people, for Louise Bourgeois they represent a nurturing quality that she associates with her mother. In a maternal fashion, the spider weaves a perfect web that serves as a protective barrier and provides food. For Bourgeois, the spider also suggests the patience and industriousness that served her mother well as a skilled weaver in the family business of tapestry restoration. Thus, the image of the spider is capable of evoking both threat and tenderness; such a meeting of supposed opposites or a reconciliation of conflicting or even contradictory states is one of the most characteristic features of Louise Bourgeois’s art.
MEDIUM Drypoint
DATES 2001
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 19 x 16 in. (48.3 x 40.6 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed lower right in graphite: "Louise Bourgeois 2001"
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed lower left: "13/25
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
CREDIT LINE Robert A. Levinson Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Louise Bourgeois (French–American, 1911–2010). Hairy Spider, 2001. Drypoint, Sheet: 19 x 16 in. (48.3 x 40.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Robert A. Levinson Fund, 2003.14. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2003.14.jpg)
EDITION Edition: 13/25. Edition of 25, plus BAT, 7 AP, 5 PP.
IMAGE overall, 2003.14.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2004
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
Copyright for this work may be controlled by the artist, the artist's estate, or other rights holders. A more detailed analysis of its rights history may, however, place it in the public domain. The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.