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Record-breaking auctions continue at LAMA; Asawa sculpture soars to $1.43 million
Asawa with the pink Eames chair. Photo: Mario de Lopez.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Los Angeles Modern Auctions achieved the highest sale total in company history, realizing $5.12 million including commissions, with a sell-through rate of 86% of the 386 lots offered in the February 23, 2014 Modern Art & Design auction. A Ruth Asawa hanging sculpture soared to $1.43 million, marking a new record for the highest price ever achieved for a single lot in the company's 22-year history and effectively tying the world auction record for the artist.

“We are building upon what we first innovated two decades ago,” says Peter Loughrey, director of LAMA, “and that is finding great material from West Coast collections and connecting buyers and sellers in the modern and contemporary art world internationally. With nearly 300 bidders in the room alone, we are the undisputed center of this market.”

Ruth Asawa’s complex hanging sculpture, Untitled S.437 (Lot 236 est. $300,000 – 500,000), more than doubled its high estimate, soaring to $1.43 million, effectively tying the world auction record and setting a new company record for a single work. Original works by top-tier artists brought the strongest prices, including Vija Celmins’ Untitled (Ham Hock) (Lot 210 est. $400,000 – 600,000) that achieved $531,250, a large-scale John McLaughlin painting (Lot 38 est. $180,000 – 250,000) that brought $212,500, and Alexander Calder’s The Black Arrow (Lot 136 est. $40,000 – 60,000) that realized $106,250.

A selection of 60 designs by George Nakashima from the Edmund J. Bennett collection together brought $469,875, going over its total estimate of $372,800. Highlights from the collection include a set of 12 Conoid chairs (Lot 260 est. $60,000 – 80,000) that realized $68,750, a hanging wall case (Lot 245 est. $20,000 – 30,000) that achieved $65,625, a Frenchman’s Cove II dining table and extension (Lot 261 est. $40,000 – 60,000) that totaled $43,750, and a table lamp (Lot 247 est. $8,000 – 10,000) that reached $15,000.

Fine art highlights include a selection of Hard Edge paintings by Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, John McLaughlin, Frederick Hammersley, and June Harwood, which together brought $443,750. Joe Goode’s Untitled (1969) realized $68,750, and a painting by Sam Gilliam, Live (1972), went seven times over the high estimate bringing $56,250. Additionally, prints and multiples saw strong prices, including Flowers (1970) by Andy Warhol that realized $35,625, and Jeff Koon’s Balloon Dog (Red) (1995) that achieved $20,000.

Additional design highlights include a Sam Maloof dining table and eight chairs that reached $81,250 and a rare rosewood rocking chair that brought $61,250. European designs also excelled, including a Frits Henningsen Highback armchair that fetched $50,000 and a pair of Gio Ponti lounge chairs that realized $45,000.


• Ruth Asawa, Untitled S.437 (1956) (Lot 236 est. $300,000 – 500,000) effectively tied the world auction record and set a new company record for a single work at $1.43 million

• Vija Celmins, Untitled (Ham Hock) (1964) (Lot 210 est. $400,000 – 600,000) achieved $531,250

• John McLaughlin, #11-1962 (1962) (Lot 38 est. $180,000 – 250,000) realized $212,500

• Alexander Calder, The Black Arrow (1969) (Lot 136 est. $40,000 – 60,000) brought $106,250

• Sam Maloof, Dining table and chairs (1968-69) (Lot 293 est. $50,000 – 70,000) totaled $81,250

• Joe Goode, Untitled (1969) (Lot 221 est. $40,000 – 60,000) fetched $68,750

• George Nakashima, Set of 12 Conoid chairs (1978, 1984) (Lot 260 est. $60,000 – 80,000) realized $68,750

• George Nakashima, Hanging wall case with free edge (1963) (Lot 245 est. $20,000 – 30,000) achieved $65,625

• Lorser Feitelson, Untitled (1964) (Lot 39 est. $50,000 – 70,000) realized $62,500

• Sam Maloof, Rosewood rocking chair (1982) (Lot 291 est. $30,000 – 50,000) totaled $61,250

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