at Bonhams Africa Now Sale as Records Tumble

Africa Now
Modern & Contemporary African Art
5 Oct 2017
London, New Bond Street

Three pieces by the Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu were the top selling works in a packed saleroom at Bonhams Africa Now – Modern & Contemporary Art sale in London yesterday, 5 October 2017. There were also new world record prices at auction for works by Demas Nwoko and Erhabor Emokpae.

Enwonwu's Nigerian Symphony sold for £112,500. Painted at a pivotal moment of Nigerian Independence in the 1960s, the painting had been estimated at £100,000-150,000.

His Female Dancer(estimate £60,000-90,000) also made £112,500 while Negritude on Red sold for £106,250, against an estimate of £60,000-90,000).

Other highlights from the sale included:

Metro Ride by Demas Nwoko, which made £81,250 (£60,000-90,000), a new world record price at auction for the artist. The rare picture was part of Nwoko's Adam and Eve series of five paintings, exhibited in Paris in 1962 and considered the most significant work of his career.

The Blind Beggar by the Nigerian artist Yusuf Grillo which sold for £106,250 (£50,000-80,000)

Three Friends, also by Grillo, which achieved £81,250 (£60,000-90,000)

Struggle between Life and Death by Nigerian painter Erhabor Emokpae, which set a new world record at auction for the artist of £31,250 (£20,000-30,000)

Bonhams Director of African Art, Giles Peppiatt said: "Ben Enwonwu is unquestionably the leading figure of African Modernism and it was not surprising that bidding for his works was so fierce. It was also encouraging to see the continued interested in Yusuf Grillo's hauntingly beautiful paintings, and the new world record at auction for Demas Nwoko's fascinating Metro Ride."


Sale: Africa Now
Location: 101 New Bond Street
Date: 5 October 2017
Specialist: Giles Peppiatt


For further information and images call Pippa MacNeil on +44 (0)207 468 8210, or email pippa.macneil@bonhams.com or press@bonhams.com.

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers of fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with sales also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com.

  1. Giles Peppiatt
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8355
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5839

Related auctions