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Ben Enwonwu’s “Tutu” Painting found after Decades, Auctioned for £1.2m



The famous work of renowned Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu that has been missing for decades has finally been found in a London home and was put up for auction today, BBC reports.

Photo Credit: CNN

The iconic portrait named Tutu was a 1974 painting of Adetutu Ademiluyi, an Ife royal princess, and was auctioned in London at 101 New Bond Street London at 5.00 p.m. London time, and in Lagos at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, at 6.00 p.m. Lagos time simultaneously. It sold for £1.2 million (1.4 million euros, $1.7 million), exceeding estimates and setting a record for the artist.

Enwonwu painted two other versions of Tutu but all three were lost.

The paintings gained fame not only for their beauty but also for their disappearance. The discovery is partly thanks to the efforts of Giles Peppiatt, Director of African art at Bonhams, who for years made it his mission to find the paintings.

At the auction, he said:

The portrait of Tutu is a national icon in Nigeria and of huge cultural significance. It is very exciting to have played a part in the discovery and sale of this remarkable work.


  1. orange

    March 1, 2018 at 10:12 am

    So who gets to keep the money?

    • Bose

      March 1, 2018 at 11:44 pm

      The owners of the painting in whose apartment in North London it was found. Apparently they inherited it from a family member who bought it years ago. They decided to sell and have chosen to remain anonymous. I believe the auctioneer also gets paid a fee.

  2. Tutu

    March 1, 2018 at 10:25 am

    I’m going to own this painting some day. I know it.

    • Anony

      March 1, 2018 at 10:36 am


  3. Kkay

    March 1, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Refreshing news. I remember being taught about the arristic works of Prof Ben Enwonwu in my Fine and Applied class in JSS as well as Prof. Chike Obi in Mathematics class; not forgetting Mozart,Beethoven, Handel and Schubert in Music class.
    Coincidentally, these two notable Nigerians, Prof Ben Enwonwu and Prof Chike were from the same town, Onitsha.

    Bellanaija, it would’ve been nice if you did a bit of an intro about the man and his work.
    I know you are more into lifestyle blogging but there’s always room for growth and diversification.

    • Buki

      March 1, 2018 at 11:51 am

      . How about you start a blog and write whatever the heck you want to.

    • Rufus

      March 1, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Buki. Take your vitriole and injest it. My word!!! The suggestion is valid and was not made with any bad intent. Must you fit the stereotype? Jeez.

    • Jummy

      March 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Buki’s reply is exactly what I’ve been complaining about. We’ve becomes so Lily livered that any attempt to get critical feedback is met with very silly replies like this.

      What is wrong in giving kkay giving user feedback? Isn’t he/her a “consumer?” You better grow up Buki. This kind of attitude won’t take you anywhere.

    • Fashion Girl

      March 1, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Would have loved to read more about the artist Prof Ben Enwonwu. Good point.

  4. Zoba

    March 1, 2018 at 3:13 pm


  5. isaid!!

    March 1, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    @ Zoba,…..lols

  6. Aderonke

    March 2, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Art is also lifestyle and KKay’s suggestion is a valid feedback. I love art works but have limited knowledge about them. This painting looks beautiful and like an “African Monalisa”
    I concur Bellanaija with KKay’s suggestion! Well done Bella Naija.

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