Ruth Asawa sculpture breaks auction record


A Ruth Asawa tied wire sculpture became the highest selling Asawa wire wreath form sold at auction in the United States, achieving $102,660 in Michaan’s Fine Art, Furniture, Decorative Arts and Jewellery Auction on December 6. The price was well in excess of its estimate of $80,000-90,000.

Rounds of heavy phone bids eventually closed with a winning bid from a prominent East Coast gallery owner. Michaan’s Twentieth Century Design Specialist Greg Favors was instrumental in bringing the piece to auction from its debut at a Michaan’s Auctions appraisal event.

“It has been a wonderful experience for me to be a part of securing such a quality piece for auction, from its original appraisal to the final sale at Michaan’s,” he said. “Ruth Asawa has not only become a San Francisco legend, but a twentieth century design icon in her own right. It has been an honour to be involved in presenting this piece to the world marketplace.”

The second highest grossing sale of the day was an oil painting by Armin Carl Hansen titled Norwegian Fisherman that realized a price of $55,460, comfortably within the estimate of $40,000-60,000. Also noteworthy was Picasso’s Vase deux anses hautes, 1952, which sold for $32,450, well in excess of its estimate of $20,000-25,000. Strong collector interest was evidenced for offerings of Grigory Gluckmann oil paintings as well: lot 1044, estimated at $8,000-12,000, sold for $20,060 and lot 1045, estimated at $8,000-12,000, sold for $14,160.

Fine Art Specialist Susan Paffrath commented: “I was pleased with the great interest shown for California pieces in the sale. Modern pieces also picked up quite a bit of interest, most namely contemporary prints. Modern art continues to peak interest at auction and its presence has introduced a new clientele to Michaan’s as well.”