Asawa wire sculpture sets U.S. auction record at Michaan’s

Ruth Lanier Asawa, wire sculpture, tied wire branching wall mounted wreath. Price realized: $102,660. Michaan's Auctions image.

Ruth Lanier Asawa, wire sculpture, tied wire branching wall mounted wreath. Price realized: $102,660. Michaan’s Auctions image.

ALAMEDA, Calif. – A Ruth Asawa tied wire sculpture was the top selling lot in Michaan’s Fine Art, Furniture, Decorative Arts and Jewelry Auction held on Dec. 6.

The sculpture became the highest selling Asawa wire wreath form sold at auction in the United States, realizing a price of $102,660 (lot 1059, $80,000-90,000). Rounds of heavy phone bids eventually closed with a winning bid from a prominent East Coast gallery owner.

LiveAuctoneers.com provided Internet live bidding.

Michaan’s 20th century design specialist Greg Favors was instrumental in bringing the piece to auction from its debut at a Michaan’s Auctions appraisal event. He remarked that, “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. Ruth Asawa has not only become a San Francisco legend, but a 20th century design icon in her own right. It has been an honor to be involved in presenting this piece to the world marketplace.”

Fine works of art continually experienced success in the December auction. 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 (lot 1034, $40,000-$60,000). Also noteworthy was Picasso’s Vase deux anses hautes, 1952 that sold for $32,450 (lot 1057, $20,000-$25,000).

Strong collector interest was evidenced for offerings of Grigory Gluckmann oil paintings as well. Lot 1044, $8,000-$12,000, sold for $20,060 and lot 1045, $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.”

A range of items from the furniture & decorative arts department exceeded high projections at auction. A suite of 14 Georg Jensen sterling bread plates sold for over seven times the high estimate for $22,420 (lot 1257, $2,500-$3,000). A Vienna Amphora Turn Teplitz Fates vase astounded, as it exceeded the high estimate over 15 fold at a final price of $18,880 (lot 1214, $900-$1,200). Rounding out the lots was a Louis XV- style champleve clock garniture with pair of matching candelabras (lot 1147, $9,000-$12,000) that sold for $17,700, a Lalique Courges vase (lot 1273, $6,000-$8,000) that sold for $14,160, and a George III brass refracting telescope (lot 1179, $1,200-$1,500) that pulled in $3,835.

A rare Tiffany & Co. tsavorite, diamond and platinum ring was a top seller at $17,700 (lot 1425, $10,000-$15,000). The immaculate, approximate 5.50-carat tsavorite displayed an unparalleled color and clarity, especially hard to find in such a large specimen. Bidding also climbed high for a pair of jade and diamond drop earrings, secured by an absentee bidder for over seven times the high estimate at $10,620 (lot 1445, $1,000-$1,500).

Honorable mentions include additional modern design and jewelry lots. Serigraphs from Robert Motherwell’s African Suite sold for as much as triple expectations. Lot 1084, $1,000-$1,200, sold for $3,835, and lot 1083, $1,000-$1,200, sold for $3,540. A lot of six original hand-turned wood pieces by Bob Stocksdale with an estimate of $550-$650 managed to command an impressive $2,655 (lot 1106). Jewelry saw three handsome sellers as well in a cultured pearl, diamond and yellow gold foliage motif bracelet (lot 1385, $1,500-$2,000) that brought $6,490, a Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger coil ring (lot 1371, $2,000-$3,000) that hit $5,310, and an opal and garnet necklace with stylized Greek key motif accents (lot 1360, $1,500-$2,000) that raised $5,310.

For details contact Michaan’s Auctions at 510-740-0220 ext. 0 or e-mail info@michaans.com.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Ruth Lanier Asawa, wire sculpture, tied wire branching wall mounted wreath. Price realized: $102,660. Michaan's Auctions image.

Ruth Lanier Asawa, wire sculpture, tied wire branching wall mounted wreath. Price realized: $102,660. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Armin Carl Hansen (Californian 1886-1957), 'Norwegian Fishermen.' Price realized: $55,460. Michaan's Auctions image.

Armin Carl Hansen (Californian 1886-1957), ‘Norwegian Fishermen.’ Price realized: $55,460. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish 1881-1973), 'Vase deux anses hautes, 1952.' Price realized: '$32,450. Michaan's Auctions image.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish 1881-1973), ‘Vase deux anses hautes, 1952.’ Price realized: ‘$32,450. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Grigory Gluckmann (Russian-born Californian 1898-1973), 'Firebird.' Price realized: $20,060. Michaan's Auctions image.

Grigory Gluckmann (Russian-born Californian 1898-1973), ‘Firebird.’ Price realized: $20,060. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Vienna Amphora Turn Teplitz Fates porcelain vase. Price realized: $18,880. Michaan's Auctions image.

Vienna Amphora Turn Teplitz Fates porcelain vase. Price realized: $18,880. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Louis XV-style champleve enamel and gilt bronze clock garniture and matched pair of candelabra, Tiffany & Co., circa 1900. Price realized: $17,700. Michaan's Auctions image.

Louis XV-style champleve enamel and gilt bronze clock garniture and matched pair of candelabra, Tiffany & Co., circa 1900. Price realized: $17,700. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Tiffany & Co. tsavorite, diamond, platinum ring. Price realized: $17,700. Michaan's Auctions image.

Tiffany & Co. tsavorite, diamond, platinum ring. Price realized: $17,700. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Pair of jade, diamond, 14K yellow gold earrings. Price realized: $10,620. Michaan's Auctions image.

Pair of jade, diamond, 14K yellow gold earrings. Price realized: $10,620. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger, sapphire, 18K yellow gold coil ring. Price realized: $5,310. Michaan's Auctions image.

Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger, sapphire, 18K yellow gold coil ring. Price realized: $5,310. Michaan’s Auctions image.