Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1997. Est. $25 million to $35 million. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2019.With the bellwether New York auctions just two weeks away, the major houses are sending catalogues to the printers and presenting online what should be, barring any 11th hour added or withdrawn works, the final lot lists for their blockbuster evening sales. The Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale list is now available, and amid $70 million-range trophy lots by Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons, there’s a lot estimated between $25 million and $35 million that, if it manages to exceed its expectations, could make more history that any other lot in the sales.

That lot is Louise Bourgeois’s giant steel sculpture Spider (1997), and the estimate range puts it within spitting distance of the most expensive work by a woman ever sold, a record achieved when Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art bought Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1 (1932) for $44.4 million at Sotheby’s in November 2014.

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