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.
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.
Just over 50% of the lots offered were sold.
A significant number were sold above their pre auction estimated price.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?