Yusuf Adebayo Cameron Grillo (Nigerian, born 1934) African Woman with Gele
Lot 52*
Yusuf Adebayo Cameron Grillo
(Nigerian, born 1934)
African Woman with Gele
Sold for £80,500 (US$ 130,370) inc. premium

Lot Details
Yusuf Adebayo Cameron Grillo (Nigerian, born 1934)
African Woman with Gele
signed and dated 'Y. Grillo 75' (lower left); inscribed 'Y.A. GRILLO / 1975' (verso)
oil on canvas
92.5 x 91.5cm (36 7/16 x 36in).

Footnotes

  • Recognised as one of the most influential figures in Nigerian art, Yusuf Adebayo Grillo has made significant contributions to modern Nigerian art practice and education. While he considers himself to be primarily a painter, he is adept in a number of other artistic disciplines, particularly those with a grand architectural influence such as sculpture, mosaic and stained glass. His ability in these media has in turn influenced his painting style, such that the composition in his paintings is commonly likened to that of stained glass window work.

    After studying extensively in Nigeria and the UK, Grillo became the Head of the Department of Art and Printing at Yaba College of Technology, a post he retained for more than 25 years. An outstanding academically trained painter, he rose to prominence and international recognition in the 1960s and 1970s, while exhibiting a large collection of his early works. Combining his Western art training and techniques with his traditional Yoruba sculpture characteristics, Grillo's exposure to Western art and his long experience in the arts, confer on his work the status of 'open text'. An open text requires numerous interpretations for the full richness of his works to be appreciated: they also further call for the consideration of the tradition and culture from which these works were fashioned.

    African Woman with gele is characterised by the delicate rendering of the female figure illuminated by subtle shades of blue, purple and white. The soft and cool colour palette permeates the work with a sense of tranquillity, while also exuding a palpable sense of spirituality. The elongated and geometrically shaped female figure breathes an aura of dignity and elegance, while her visage, with which Grillo makes reference to the African mask form, is stylised almost to the point of abstraction; yet she does not lose her human essence. As is common in Grillo's work, she is "imbued with a combination of human frailties, grace and elegance, which according to Grillo represent the contemporary ideal of beauty in an urban setting".

    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    P. Dike & P. Oyelola, The Zaria Art Society, (Lagos, 1998), pp.87-96
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