Three of late Nigerian painter and sculptor Ben Enwonwu‘s pieces were among the top selling works at the Bonhams Africa Now – Modern & Contemporary Art sale in London on October 5, 2017.
Enwonwu’s Nigerian Symphony which had been estimated at £100,000 – £150,000, sold for £112,500.
His Female Dancer (estimate £60,000-90,000) also made £112,500 while Negritude on red sold for £106,250, against an estimate of £60,000-90,000).
There were also new world record prices at auction for works by Demas Nwoko and late Erhabor Emokpae also
Nwoko’s Metro Ride part of his Adam and Eve series of five paintings, exhibited in Paris in 1962 and considered the most significant work of his career, made £81,250 from an estimated £60,000-90,000 sale.
Emokpae’s Struggle between Life and Death auctioned at £31,250 as against a £20,000-30,000 estimate.
Yusuf Grillo‘s The Blind Beggar and Three Friends sold for £106,250 and £81,250 respectively. Both pieces were estimated at £50,000-80,000 and £60,000-90,000 respectively.
Speaking on the sales, Bonhams Director of African Art, Giles Peppiatt said: “Ben Enwonwu is unquestionably the leading figure of African Modernism and it was not surprising that bidding for his works was so fierce. It was also encouraging to see the continued interested in Yusuf Grillo’s hauntingly beautiful paintings, and the new world record at auction for Demas Nwoko’s fascinating ‘Metro Ride’.”