Art Industry News: A Monumental Louise Bourgeois ‘Spider’ Could Rake in $40 Million at Sotheby’s + Other Stories

Plus, the National Portrait Gallery raises enough money to jointly buy a rare portrait with the Getty and a T-Rex will go on view in Antwerp.

Louise Bourgeois, Spider (1996). Photo by Edouard Fraipont. Image courtesy Sotheby's.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 25.


Meet the Artist Who Spent His Nights Guarding the Met – Nobody clocks in more hours at a museum than security guards, so Greg Kwiatek decided to make use of his quiet night shift to study the collection at the Met. By day, he produced paintings of his own inspired by his night job, and now this work is been included in a group show at Fierman Gallery on New York’s Lower East Side. (New York Times) 

How Art Historians Use Code – When can a computer take over for an art historian? A digital art historian at the Getty has created data visualizations that reveal new connections between 19th century Spanish artists and help curators tell alternative narratives about the history of art. (Getty) 

Louise Bourgeois Spider Heads to Auction – From the French-American modernist’s most iconic series, inspired by her complex relationship to motherhood, a monumental 1996 Spider is heading to auction for the first time in over a decade. It is expected to fetch up to $40 million at Sotheby’s New York’s contemporary evening auction on May 18. (Press release)  

T-Rex Will Go on View at Art Foundation in Antwerp – The mighty dinosaur skeleton was bought last week at Koller auction house in Switzerland by the non-profit Phoebus Foundation, which now plans to keep the artifact on public display at its new Boerentoren cultural center in Antwerp. (AFP)


Rome Prize Names Recipients – A total of 36 winners of the American Academy in Rome’s biannual award have been announced, of which seven are visual artists: Dread Scott, Estefania Puerta Grisales, Zachary Fabri, Nao Bustamante, Mike Cloud and Kamrooz Aram. (ARTnews) 

Andy Warhol Foundation Adds New Board Members – The foundation has expanded its board to include the artist and choreographer Guadalupe Maravilla, chief curator and artistic director of the Mississippi Museum of Art’s Center for Art and Public Exchange, Ryan N. Dennis, art lawyer Sarah Conley Odenkirk and investment manager for Rockerfeller University, Paula Volent. (Press release)  

LACMA Supporters Fund 10 New Acquisitions – The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 37th annual Collectors Committee fundraiser has seen the addition of works by Max Ernst, Nick Cave, Theaster Gates, Miyoko Ito, Bernardo Polo, Moriguchi Kunihiko and Analia Saban to its permanent collection. To find out more about how museums like LACMA organise their acquisitions strategy, read more on Artnet News Pro. (Press release) 


NPG Successfully Fundraises to Share Portrait of Omai – London’s National Portrait Gallery has managed to raise the £25 million (around $31 million) needed to follow through on its agreement with the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to jointly acquire Joshua Reynolds’s Portrait of Mai (Omai). After made up its half of the sum with help from an exceptional £10 million (around $12.5 million) grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, a £2.5 million (around $3.1 million) Art Fund grant, as well as other private and public donations. The work will be exhibited when the gallery reopens on June 22 before traveling to L.A. in 2026, and thereafter sharing time equally between the U.K. and U.S. (Press release) 

Sir Joshua Reynolds, <i>Portrait of Mai (Omai)</i> (c. 1776). Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, London and Getty.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Mai (Omai) (c. 1776). Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, London and Getty.

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