FOUND > Painting Fetches $1.6 Million

Rare portrait discovered in modest apartment

Poster reproductions were hung on walls all throughout Nigeria.
Updated - February 28, 2018
By James Massey, What Sells Best News

LONDON - Bonhams reports, a rare painting, recently found in a modest London apartment, has shattered expectations by fetching $1.6 million at auction. The final hammer price more than tripled its high estimate of $420,000.

SYMBOL OF PEACE

The work, entitled Tutu, was painted by the Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu after the Nigerian Civil War, and is a portrait of the Ife royal princess Adetutu Ademiluyi.

After its completion, the portrait became a national symbol of reconciliation, and poster reproductions were hung on walls, all throughout the country. However, the original painting had vanished and was missing for more than 40 years.

Interviews by CGTN Africa, regarding the importance of the paintings discovery.

Renowned Nigerian poet Ben Okri says the painting is; "the most significant discovery in contemporary African art in over 50 years." In a press release by Bonhams.

THE DISCOVERY

According to a CBC report, the painting was discovered by Giles Peppiatt, director of modern African art at Bonhams Auction House.

Mr. Peppiatt received a call from a family, wanting to have a painting in their father's estate appraised. He had no idea of the significance of what was waiting for him.

"I walked into this sitting room and there was this painting, and it wasn't anything I'd expected at all," said Peppiatt. The full discovery story is recounted in the following CBC interview with Peppiatt.

AUCTION INFORMATION

The painting was sold at Bonhams auction house in London on February 28, 2018, in their African Now sale, as Lot 47. The final sold price after the auction premium was $1.6 million. The original estimates for the painting, were $280,000 - $420,000.

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