Ben Enwonwu’s Tutu sells for £1.2m and other Surprises at Bonhams 2018

The Bonhams’ Africa Now auction that held on Wednesday, March 1, 2018, surpassed all expectations. The star of the auction, Ben Enwonwu’s Tutu (1974), after a protracted bidding battle, sold at the hammer price of £1,000,000 (one million pounds). At more than three times its auction estimate, it’s a world record for Enwonwu (his previous record was £361,250 for the Daily Mirror sculptures), the most valuable Nigerian painting sold at auction and a West African auction record.

Apart from Tutu, the top three lots of the auction were Ben Enwonwu’s Female Form at £88,000, Enwonwu’s Negritude at £80,000 and Yusuf Grillo’s Evangelists: Cymbal, Triangle and Tambourine at £45,000.

Artstrings brings you notable details of the auction: Top lots, artworks that sold above the high estimates (Big Surprises) and artworks that sold way below the low estimates (the Negative Surprises).

Top Lots (above £20,000) – Hammer Prices and Price Estimates



The Big Surprises Artworks that sold above the high estimates


The Negative Surprises Artworks that sold way below the estimates

Bonhams seems to have been overly optimistic in their estimates, as about 47% of the artworks sold below the low estimates. The artists whose works sold below estimate include Bruce Onobrakpeya, El Anatsui, Joseph “Paa Joe” Tetteh Ashong, Cheri Cherin, Dominique Zinkpe and George Osodi. Below are the bottom three lots that fell farthest from their estimates.





Adekemi is a lawyer and writer with a passion for the arts, particularly African art history. She is dedicated to discovering and documenting the most excellent artworks of our time. Follow her on Twitter at adekemitweets.
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