Ruth Asawa Sculpture Value – A Guide for Art Collectors

How much is Ruth Asawa art worth, and what is her most expensive sculpture? Read more about this sculptor, painter and print maker.

Who was artist Ruth Asawa?

Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) was a renowned Japanese-American artist and educator.  Asawa was an arts education advocate and the driving force behind the creation of the San Francisco School of the Arts, which was renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in 2010 in tribute to her.(2)

What’s your favorite Ruth Asawa artwork? Leave a comment!

What is Ruth Asawa famous for?

Ruth Asawa’s diligence to her craft, her pioneering experiments in wire sculpture, and her comprehensive output in other mediums including public sculpture, painting, and printmaking have established Asawa as one of the most influential modernists of the 20th century.(1) 

What kind of art does Ruth Asawa make?

Ruth Asawa constructed intricate, multi-lobed wire sculptures that explore the complex relationship between object and space. She was also a painter and print maker. In 2016 Heritage Auctions sold this foil embossing on wove paper by Ruth Asawa for $4,500. 

Where can you see Ruth Asawa’s sculptures?

Many of her later works and most beloved wire sculptures are part of permanent collections of major museums. For example, the Whitney has her Untitled (S.270, Hanging Six-Lobed)  and the Guggenheim holds a piece of Asawa’s in their permanent collection. 

Fifteen of her wire sculptures are on permanent display in the tower of San Francisco’s de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, and several of her fountains are located in public places in San Francisco.(2)

How did Ruth Asawa get started?

Ruth Awasa was born in Norwalk, California on January 24, 1926. She and her family were subject to the horrific Japanese internment camps. One that would take her father away and would later take her mother, siblings and herself to camp, Santa Anita Park racetrack. She is quick to mention the good that came from that time, which is a humbling outlook on a hardship her and her family experienced. At the internment camp, Santa Anita Park racetrack, three Disney animators would teach Asawa how to draw. 

Her first big break was to design a sculpture for an outdoor space in San Francisco, named Fountain Lady, that would be received with great enthusiasm from San Franciscans. 

asawa fountain lady
Ruth Asawa Fountain Lady in San Francisco

How Much are Ruth Asawa Sculptures Worth?

Asawa’s lithographs sell in the hundreds of US dollars while her wire works cost from a few hundred dollars to $4 million. 

What is the most expensive Ruth Asawa sculpture?

In November 2019 Asawa’s wire sculpture S. 387, Hanging Three Separate Layers of Three Lobed Forms exceeded its $900K estimate and sold at auction for over $4 million US.(1) 

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Sources:

  1. https://lamodern.com/2014/02/peters-auction-pick-of-the-day-ruth-asawa-complex-hanging-sculpture/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Asawa


Posted by Sarah Janke

Sarah is a Consignment Coordinator at Heritage Auctions. Sarah received her Master of Fine Arts from University North Texas, in fiber, textile, and weaving arts, and has a Bachelor's degree in painting and graphic design from Taylor University.

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