Art/Design, News & Events

RBG’s personal Art collection was sold at auction

From Picasso to Andy Warhol.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
May 24, 2022

The personal art collection of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was recently sold at auction and included a Josef Albers screen print, Picasso ceramics, and modern Indigenous art.


Long before she died in September 2020 at the age of 87, former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy had already been created. Ginsburg became a pop culture icon in her own right over the course of nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, following a successful law career that included numerous ground-breaking achievements. Aspects of her life were serialized in books, movies, and an abundance of Halloween costumes for budding young feminists.


The Potomack Company held the auction and the first round included 17 pieces from Ginsburg’s Watergate apartment in Washington, DC. Three Picasso ceramic, terracotta, and earthenware pieces, as well as a print, a Josef Albers screen print, and 6 bronze statuettes and reliefs by Glenna Goodacre, who designed the obverse of the gold Sacagawea dollar from 2000 to 2008 and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, were all sold.


A second set of objects, including 145 artworks and memorabilia from the Justice’s Supreme Court chambers, as well as her house, were also sold. The modern art auction ended on April 27, followed by the memorabilia sale on April 28. The two auctions support the Washington National Opera (WNO), a favorite of Ginsburg’s, who attended WNO concerts at the Kennedy Center on a regular basis.


The Potomack Company said it would donate 10% of the seller’s commission to fellowships offered by the Women of Berkeley Law, a student club at the University of California, Berkeley, in honor of the justice’s “legacy on gender equality and diversity.”


Nearly all the pieces in both collections surpassed their estimated value because of their connection to the cult classic RBG. More small artworks, a cross-section of Indigenous art, including carved animal fetishes and pottery, numerous cut glass and crystal vases and bowls, and an assortment of medals and honors bestowed upon Ginsburg throughout her prodigious legal career, are among the items found in Ginsburg’s home and office chambers. Ginsburg was honored as a 1996 Rubin Visiting Professor at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center and the catalog contains a mink coat with her initials in the pocket, as well as glass art and a Hummelesque tiger figurine.


The Ruth Bader Ginsburg collection will be on display at Potomack’s Old Town gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, until May 27, offering not only a diverse collection of art objects and memorabilia gathered over the course of a fascinating career, but also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those seeking one-of-a-kind artifacts from the life of a notable American woman.


In case you missed it, two artists turned a subway station into a Ruth Bader Ginsburg tribute.


Photo via The Potomack Company