Long-lost Nigerian masterpiece found in London sold for $1.4 million

From Reuters - March 1, 2018

LAGOS (Reuters) - A portrait of a Nigerian princess that was lost for more than 40 years and found in a London flat was sold at an auction for 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) on Wednesday .

Tutu, an art work by Nigerias best-known modern artist Ben Enwonwu, was painted in 1974 and appeared at an art show in Lagos the following year but its whereabouts after that were unknown until it re-surfaced in north London.

The sale was a world record for the artist. The work had been expected to be sold for between 200,000 and 300,000 pounds ($277,600-$416,400).

The auction was held at Bonhams in London and shown live at the Wheatbaker, a hotel popular with artists in Lagos where the sale, made to a telephone bidder, was greeted with applause by about 70 people watching on a big screen.

We are very happy that modern Nigerian art has begun to get its actual value, said Oliver Enwonwu, the artists son, who is president of the Society of Nigerian Artists.


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