The RBG art collection is up for sale, and like she would have wanted, the proceeds will benefit the Washington National Opera.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affectionately known to many as the Notorious RBG, was a woman of passion. That passion took her to the Supreme Court, the second woman to hold that lifelong position. Passion also took her to the stage, playing cameos for the Washington National Opera even after her appointment, and filled her home with art.
In the second lot of RBG’s possessions to be sold at auction, her private art collection is the most interesting thing up on the block. It includes ceramics by Pablo Picasso, some bronzes by American sculptor Glenna Goodacre (including a draft of her final design for the Sacagawea dollar), and a screen print by German artist Josef Albers. Albers, while not quite a household name, was one of the founding teachers of the Bauhaus art movement, headed Yale University’s department of design in its infancy, and was the first living artist to have a solo show at both the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His abstract, powerfully colorful paintings are considered among the most influential pieces of visual design in the twentieth century.
Ginsburg certainly understood the power of bold strokes and a recognizable design. Even today, two year after her passing, a curve of lace on black evokes a voice standing strong against public pressure, choosing dissent over placation. And it likely will for decades to come.
The collection, as well as personal items from Ginsburg’s Watergate home, are being auctioned off by the Potomack Company. Fans of the justice turned out last time for the chance to have that link with her; the first auction, held in January, raised $2.3 million for the Washington National Opera. This one is expected to net more.
“We remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg: a steadfast patron, a cherished critic, a supernumerary worthy of standing ovations, and our greatest advocate,” wrote the Washington National Opera.
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