Sunday 22 May 2016

Most- priced Nigerian painting ever goes to auction

Ben Enwonwu’s “Spirit of Ogolo” is estimated to fetch up to N63 million and may even exceed this figure when the sale opens on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at Bonhams in London, U.K.
This, according to valuers, makes it the most expensively estimated Nigerian art work to be offered for auction.

Spirit of Ogolo by Ben Enwonwu

This treasure trove of Nigerian master paintings and historical portraits are being shown in a prestigious Victoria Island Gallery prior to their auction in London.

Giles Peppiatt, Bonhams Director of Modern African Art will be available for interview and can explain the international market for modern Nigerian and African art. A selection of paintings including “Spirit of Ogolo” will be available for photography and all images available on request.

Other highlights include:

Demas Nwoko. Only four paintings by the Zaria master Demas Nwoko have ever appeared for sale on the open market. So, for Nigerian art collectors this is a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed. “Adam & Eve” is estimated to fetch up to Naira 12.5 million.

Yusuf Grillo. Prof. Grillo is recognised as one of Nigeria’s most important living artists. “Street Musicians” is an evocative rendering of Nigerian culture.

Dorothea, Viscountess Head. Two exceptionally rare portraits by the wife of Britain’s first High Commissioner to newly independent Nigeria are offered. They depict Sir Abubakar Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello. These legendary leaders who feature on the Nigerian bank notes were crucial to the founding of the Nigerian state.

We can provide you with an image of the highest price work by Ben Enwonwu if you wish ?   In my talk I touched on the fact that the market for modern Nigerian art in London is as strong as we have known it.  I also suggested that rather like the recent increase in the price of Gold (to which art can be compared) this could be as a result of people’s instinct to look for hard assets.

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