Preview: Sotheby’s 2017 Modern and Contemporary African Art Sales

Preview: Sotheby's 2017 Modern and Contemporary African Art Sales

Nigerian art features in Sotheby’s first dedicated sale of Modern and Contemporary African art, London, on May 16, 2017.

According to Hannah O’Leary, Sotheby’s head of Modern and Contemporary African art: “The marketplace for Modern and Contemporary art from Africa has transformed dramatically over the past decade, but despite this long-overdue correction, there’s still a considerable way to go towards addressing the under-representation of African artists, who account for just 0.01% of the international art market. In recent years, I’ve seen an exponential increase in market demand from collectors in Africa and the African diaspora, as well as international art collectors and influencers who are embracing art from Africa as exciting, innovative and relevant. Sotheby’s entry to the market is in direct response to its current strength and its even greater potential over the coming years. In our sale, you will find works by the giants of Modern and Contemporary African art, who have established auction prices over $1 million, alongside little-known artists who have never, or barely, appeared at auction before. This is our opportunity to redress some of the current price anomalies; to identify those artists who we think currently undersell but have huge potential. Modern and Contemporary African art spans many different decades, themes, cultures and geographies – we’re not suggesting that the art included in our sale forms one cohesive body, but hope that the auction and our international exhibitions will provide a fresh platform for these artists, attracting the interest of new collectors and enthusiasts who have not yet explored this field.”

Highlights include Ben Enwonwu, Ogolo, 1987 gouache, pen and ink on cardboard, 29 x 21cm, estimated between £60,000-80,000; Yinka Shonibare, Crash Willy, 2009 mannequin, dutch wax printed cotton textile, leather, fibreglass and metal, 132 x 198 x 260cm with pre-sale estimates £120,000-180,000; Uche Okeke, Kate, 1965 oil on board, 70 x 49cm estimated between £20,000-30,000; Ben Osaghae, Untitled, 2000 oil on canvas, 210 x 90cm with pre-sale estimates £5,000-8,000; Bruce Onobrakpeya, Panel of Three Images Original Plastocast, 97 x 126cm estimated between £12,000-18,000; Peju Alatise, Untitled, 2016 acrylic on canvas, 177 x 133cm with pre-sale estimates £8,000-12,000; Sokari Douglas Camp, Lovers Whispering, 2016 steel, gold leaf and Perspex, 138 x 140 x 71cm with pre-sale estimate £8,000; Abiodun Olaku, Heavenly Steps, 1995 oil on canvas, 84.25 x 68cm with pre-sale estimates £6,000-9,000; and Akinola Lasekan, Portrait of Mrs Taiwo Andrea, 1973, oil on masonite board, 101 x 75.5cm estimated between £10,000-15,000.

Other highlights include El Anatsui (Ghanaian) Earth Developing More Roots, 2011 aluminium bottle caps and copper wire, 320 x 338cm with pre-sale estimates £650,000-850,000; Uzo Egonu (Ghanaian) Nkrumah, 1962 oil on canvas, 167 x 122cm, estimated between £10,000-15,000; Amon Kotei (Ghanaian) Two Women, 1982 oil on canvas, 53 x 96cm with pre-sale estimates £5,000-8,000; Meschac Gaba (Beninese) Le Pavé dans la Mère, 1999 Textile and coins, 220 x 120cm estimated between £20,000-30,000; Abdoulaye Konaté (Malian) Composition No. 25 (Soleil), 2015 Textile, 189 x 107cm with pre-sale estimates £10,000-15,000; Chéri Samba (Congolese) Une vie non ratée (A Successful Life), 1995 acrylic on canvas, 130 x 195cm estimated between £20,000-30,000; Irma Stern (South African) Sunflowers, 1942 oil on canvas, 86 x 86cm with pre-sale estimates £350,000-550,000; and Ouattara Watts (Ivorian) Masada, 1993 wooden sculpture, mixed media, 295.91 x 256.54cm estimated between £15,000-20,000.


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