Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu M.B.E (Nigerian, 1917-1994) A tree-lined village path
Lot 24
Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu M.B.E
(Nigerian, 1917-1994)
A tree-lined village path
Sold for £ 40,000 (US$ 52,700) inc. premium

Africa Now

28 Feb 2018, 17:00 GMT

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu M.B.E (Nigerian, 1917-1994)
A tree-lined village path
signed 'Ben Enwonwu' (lower left)
oil on canvas
45 x 71cm (17 11/16 x 27 15/16in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Gifted by the artist to a private collector in Lagos, circa 1965.
    By direct descent to the current owner, circa 1998.


    Enwonwu gifted the above lot to the current owner's father in the mid 1960s. The two men had first met in London in 1946. He had just been demobilised following the end of World War II, and Enwonwu was studying at the Slade School of Fine Art. They quickly struck up a friendship which would last until the artist died in 1994.

    Enwonwu persuaded his friend to move to Nigeria in the late 1950s. The current owner often visited Enwonwu's studio in Ikoyi with his father as a child.

    The painting depicts a village path, most likely near Onitsha, where Enwonwu was born and raised. The part of Anambra State was renowned as a trading hub due to its proximity to the Niger River. The port in Onitsha thronged with European merchants wanting to do trade with the local population. The above lot communicates the character of the area. Through the trees that line the path, we catch glimpses of a thriving village market. Two men stand at a make-shift stall, a woman carries a basket on her head.

    However, the real focal point of the painting is the dappled light that filters through the branches onto the path. Enwonwu captures the luminous effect with bold strokes of white paint that cut a sharp contrast with the mossy green tree-trunks.

    Bibliography
    S. Ogbechie, Ben Enwonwu: The Making of a Modernist, (Rochester, 2008), pp.24-25.
Activities
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Contacts
  1. Eliza Sawyer
    Auction administration - African, Modern and Contemporary Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 5881
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