By Nii B. Andrews.

The results from the latest contemporary African art (CAA) auction held by the Lagos powerhouse – Arthouse Contemporary, have been positive.

Ben Enwonwu’s piece – ANYANWU, sold for a local auction record price of USD 170 000. At a previous auction at Arthouse, it had sold for less than half of that amount.

REMI: Ben Enwonwu, Bronze, 23 cm, 1977. Signed and dated (base of work); sold for USD 19 000.

The second best-selling work at the auction last week, was NEGRITUDE, a painting by Enwonwu, which sold for USD 136 000.

REMI, another Enwonwu sculpture sold above its pre sale estimate for USD 19 000.

NEGRITUDE: Ben Enwonwu, watercolour on paper, 78.5 x 53cm, 1990. Signed and dated lower left. Pre sale estimate; USD 83 400 – 125 000; sold for USD 136 000.

Just over 50% of the lots offered were sold.

A significant number were sold above their pre auction estimated price.

PEOPLE: Ablade Glover, Oil on canvas,101.5 x 152.5 cm. 2013
Signed and dated lower left. Sold for USD 12 700.

These included paintings by Ablade Glover, Olumide Onadipe, Peju Alatise and Chuks Anyanwu.

The specific paintings were; Glover’s oil on canvas PEOPLE (2013) which fetched USD 12 700; Onadipe’s WATCHER 1 (2016) – USD 4 600 and Alatise’s mixed media piece EVERY NIGHT THEY SLEEP, THEY DREAM OF NOTHING (2014) – USD 12 700.

The enigmatic female portrait by Chuks Anyanwu, UNTITLED sold for USD 11 200. This was far above the pre sale estimate of  USD7 000.

UNTITLED: Chuks Anyanwu, Oil on canvas, 66 x 73 cm, 1989.
Signed and dated, lower right. Sold for USD 11 200.

A haunting oil painting of a crouched female in the distinctive ochre and blue palette of Amon Kotei, UNTITLED was also bought for

USD 12 800 – again above the pre sale estimate.

WATCHED POT NEVER BOILS – another Kotei painting, sold for USD 7 000.

On the other hand, a second Glover painting, BLUE – from 2002, failed to sell.

EVERY NIGHT THEY SLEEP, THEY SLEEP THEY DREAM OF NOTHING: Peju Alatise, Mixed media on canvas, 155 x 155 cm, 2014.Signed and dated lower left. Sold for USD 12 700.

A painting each of two other Ghanaian artists, Ato Delaquis and Agorsor also failed to sell.

Two of the signature mixed media pieces (WHO SAID and ERUPTED) by rising star, Gerald Chukwuma also did not sell.

Sometimes, the auction venue could and does affect sales of particular works for multiple reasons.

UNTITLED: Amon Kotei, Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 150 cm, 1994. Signed and dated lower left. Sold FOR USD 12 800.

All told, the results indicate that the CAA market is still developing and it is certainly not overheated; it has not been overrun by speculators to the chagrin of passionate collectors and connoisseurs.

Works of outstanding aesthetic quality and provenance still command premium amounts as demonstrated from the sale prices of many of the artworks.

WATCHERS I: Olumide Onadipe, acrylic on canvas, 132 x 106 cm, 2016, signed and dated lower left. Sold for USD 4 600.

And even better still, there were sales of excellent works by emerging artists and established artists for less than USD 1 500.

Sponsors of the event included Access Bank, Kia Motors, Veuve Clicquot, 7UP, Le Connaisseur, and Shiro.

Oyiwa! Nigeria is currently far ahead of Ghana in its CAA market infrastructure….or if you like, ecosystem.

But na who and whetin cause am?

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