Tuesday 20th February 2018,


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Bonhams Auctions Top Africa Now Art Sale

posted by ARTCENTRON

El Anatsui (Ghanaian, born 1944), New World Map, aluminium bottle caps and copper wire
340 x 500cm (133 7/8 x 196 7/8in). Sold for £541,250 (US$ 801,221) inc. premium. Image courtesy of Bonhams

ART AUCTION: 2011 South African artist Irma Stern’s Arab Priest sold for £3.04 million at Bonhams Auctions, becoming the most expensive work of art by an African artists sold at the Africa Now auction


Image: Irma Stern's Arab Priest sold at Bonhams Auctions is the most expensive African art sold at the auction house

Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966), Arab Priest, oil on canvas 97 x 86cm (38 3/16 x 33 7/8in), within original Zanzibar frame Sold for £3,044,000 (US$ 4,632,138) inc. premium. Image Bonhams

LONDON- Six years after Africa Now  started, Bonhams Auctions has continued to expand on its sale of  modern and contemporary African Art.  Early this year,  Bonhams Auctions  split  Africa Now auction into two to facilitate the interest in African art and as well as  attract more art collectors. The division focused on Modern African Art and Contemporary African Art. The first part , Africa Now- Modern Africa  happened in May this year.

Some of the artists featured in that sale of Modern African Art held in Bonhams Auctions London included El Anatsui, Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo,  and many others.  The top selling work was Anyanwu Simplified, a sculpture by  Ben Enwonwu.  A variation of the  bronze sculpture that the artist produced for the National Museum of Lagos in 1958, the sculpture sold for £74,500 (US$ 117,300) inc. premium.

The second installment of the new Africa Now auction will be held October 15, 2015  in London.  Works by  famous contemporary African artists, including  El Anatsui, Chéri Samba, Maïmouna Guerresi, Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, Juliet Ezenwa Maja-Pearce, Peju Alatise and Barthélémy Toguo will  feature prominently at this Bonhams first  contemporary African art sale.

Bonhams Auctions new initiative with the Africa Now project was engendered by  the success recorded over the years and the growing vibrant market for African art.

Since it started in 2009, Bonhams Auctions Africa Now has brought Modern and Contemporary African Art to the center of the globe art market. The enthusiasm and   intensity of emerging and established art collectors to add exceptional works by famous African artists to their collection has led to many record  auction prices. Many emerging African artists have also benefited from the vibrant  African art  market. Here are 4 of the top  works by African artists  that achieved world records over six years of Bonhams Auctions Africa Now art auction.

2013 Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu’s “Mirror Sculptures” sold for £360,000

Image: Ben Enwonwu, one of Nigeria's must celebrated artists created the Seven wooden sculptures for the Daily Mirror in 1960-Bonhams Auctions News

Ben (Benedict Chukwukadibia) Enwonwu, M.B.E (Nigerian, 1917-1994) Seven wooden sculptures commissioned by the Daily Mirror in 1960. Sold for £361,250 (US$ 534,764) inc. premium in 2013. Image courtesy of Bonhams Auctions

2014 Nigerian artist Yusuf Grillo’s “Woman with Gele” sold for £81,000

Image: Yusuf Adebayo Cameron Grillo African Woman with Gele, sold at Bonhams Auctions during Africa Now

Yusuf Adebayo Cameron Grillo (Nigerian, born 1934), African Woman with Gele, oil on canvas 92.5 x 91.5cm (36 7/16 x 36in). Image courtesy of Bonhams Auctions

World Records achieved by works of famous African artists at Bonhams Auctions Africa Now:

  1. 2011 South African artist Irma Stern’s”Arab Priest“sold for £3.04 million
  2. 2012 Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s “New World Map”sold for £550,000
  3. 2013 Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu’s “Mirror Sculptures”sold for £360,000
  4. 2014 Nigerian artist Yusuf Grillo’s “Woman with Gele” sold for £81,000