Maman is a sculpture produced by Louise Bourgeois and is located in the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.


Maman was first installed in 1999 when Bourgeois was commissioned to create a piece to occupy the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern in London. The sculpture was made of steel bronze and marble. The original steel spider has since been taken down, while six bronze replicas are located around the world. One of the most popular replicas is that in the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

The Colossal 35 foot tall spider is called Maman (French for Mother) and is representative of a productive and nurturing mother. The material used to create the sculpture illustrate the sturdy and resilient nature of the mother figure, while on the other hand, the slender long legs illustrate vulnerability. The main inspiration for this was Bourgeois’ mother who was a professional weaver and tapestry maker. However the spider is also representative of Bourgeois herself as she produces her own art.

The figure of the spider is comparable to the imagery of spiders and other animals seen in the work of Salvador Dali. This is due to the surrealist influences taken by Bourgeois in her work. The imagery of spiders is so prevalent in her work that she has been nicknamed ‘Spiderwoman’.

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The other five permanent locations of the bronze replicas are as follows: The Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Arkansas USA, the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul South Korea, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo Japan, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa Canada, and the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha Qatar.

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