Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Africa Now New York Auction of Contemporary art


NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams’ March 10th ‘Africa Now’ sale was met with great enthusiasm by both American and International buyers. Taking place at the auctioneers’ Madison Avenue galleries this was the first sale of modern & contemporary African art ever to be held in New York. Consisting of 140 lots the auction featured work by both new and established artists from fourteen African Nations.

As part of the celebrations surrounding the sale the ‘Keep a Child Alive’ charity and Afren partnered with Bonhams to host a reception which took place the evening before the sale.

Giles Peppiatt, Director of African Art says, “We welcomed the opportunity to bring this innovative sale category to New York, and the inaugural sale of Modern and Contemporary art in the United States proved a real success, with top prices paid for exceptional works from some of the leaders in this emerging field. We also thoroughly enjoyed the evening reception held the night before the auction at Bonhams, where leading members of New York’s African community joined us to celebrate this important landmark for the American art market.”

Work by the acclaimed Ben Enwonwu (Nigerian, 1917-1994) lead the way claiming five out of the ten top ten lots, including the first three. The artist’s ‘Dancing Boys’ claimed top lot, achieving $91,500 against a pre-sale of $80,000-120,000 and equaling the current world record.

A new world auction record was set for Bruce Onobrakpeya (Nigerian, born 1932) for a mixed media piece titled ‘Environmental Regeneration’ which fetched $42,700 against a pre-sale of $35,000-45,000.

Other works drawing noteworthy prices were ‘Sabada’ by Yusuf Grillo (Nigerian, born 1934) which brought $57,950 and El Anatsui’s (Ghanaian, born 1944) Ondambo ‘Sculpture I’ which drew $27,450.

The next sale of ‘Modern & Contemporary African Art’ will be held in London in Spring 2011. The illustrated auction catalog for the March 10th sale will be online at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks following the auction.

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