INSIDE THIS ISSUE
The Rising Value of Nigerian Art
The auction room erupted with applause when the hammer came down at the Arthouse Contemporary auction in Lagos closing the sale of a miniature bronze cast of Anyanwu, an iconic work by celebrated Nigerian artist and probably the most influential African artist of the 20th century ,Ben Enwonwu MBE at a staggering N30.8 million (Us$ 192,500, buyer’s premium inclusive). In recent years there has been a steep rise in the value of the artist’s work on the international art market.
Increasing global attention to African art has seen international art auction houses like Bonhams and Phillips de Pury devote entire sales to modern and contemporary art from the continent. Many watchers of these trends would not be surprised at the new record set for a modern Nigerian work of art. However, this figure pales in comparison to previous records set by arguably less influential South African artists. Only recently Irma Stern’s 1945 Bahora Girl set a world record at London’s Bonhams auction house of £2.4 million (Us$ 3.78million) for South African art.