On The Block: A Stunning Ruth Asawa At LAMA


There’s a sublime Ruth Asawa sculpture coming up at the LA Modern Auction on June 10. Previously owned by the architect and urban planner Edgardo Contini and not seen since since 1965, the delicate but totemic construction of twisted, oxidized copper wire stands almost 5-feet tall.

Asawa’s Untitled, (S.809) Lot 159 is modestly estimated to bring between $100,000 to $150,000, while Asawa’s better known, hanging and lobed wire constructions regularly sell for over $1,000,000 as her work garners the international recognition it never achieved during her lifetime. Go to ruthasawa.com for more about this extraordinary artist. [Price Realized: $312,000]

More Highlights: The sale is full of good stuff, like this iconic Clam Chair designed by Danish architect Philip Arctander, here upholstered in fabric instead of the usual fluffy sheepskin. Designed in 1944, Lot 8 is expected to bring $4,000 to $6,000. [Price Realized: $9,375]

Lot 5
is an equally sculptural chair by the great Hans Wegner– one of his Cow Horn chairs, designed in 1952. This exquisitely carved and beautifully patinated piece is expected to fetch somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000. [Price Realized: $4,375]

The towering figure of Italian modernism, Gio Ponti was an architect, designer, and publisher. Among his many projects was the First Class ballroom for the Augustus, one of pair of futuristic ocean liners launched by the Italian line soon after WWII. Lot 27 is a table from that ballroom, designed in 1957, and expected to sell for $10,000 to $15,000. [Price Realized $10,000]

To continue conjuring up this last gasp of luxe ocean travel, Lot 26 is a pair of chairs from the same suite in their original fabric, expected to bring somewhere between $20,000 to $30,000. Both the table and chairs were made by the legendary Italian furniture maker Cassina. [Price Realized: $33,700]

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