Ben (Benedict Chukwukadibia) Enwonwu, M.B.E (Nigerian, 1917-1994)
The marketplace oil on canvas 66 x 101.5cm (26 x 39 15/16in).
PROVENANCE: The Blue Star Line Collection, their sale Robert Heyes, Birkenhead, March 1989 A private collection, UK
The present lot depicts a marketplace in rural Western Nigeria. The women are Yoruba women, identifiable by their gele, or style of headdress. It is possible that it was produced between 1971 and 1974, when the artist was in residence at the University of Ife. During this period he produced the important work Tutu, 1973 (illustrated in Ogbechie 2008, no.5.16); he spent a lot of his time painting the women of Ife, and would have visited the market often.
The strong use of diagonal seen is a device often seen in Enwonwu's work, including lot 1, Cotton trees, 1949, and Procession, 1961 (illustrated in Ogbechie 2008, no.5.7).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: S.O. Ogbechie, Ben Enwonwu: The Making of an African Modernist (Rochester, 2008)