Sotheby’s continues to build an African art department with its fourth sale in the category to be held on April 2nd in London. The top lot is an El Anatsui work with a £550k low estimate along with works by Chéri Samba, Hassan El Glaoui, and Eddy Kamuanga Illunga. Here’s Sotheby’s release on the sale:
The international market for Modern and Contemporary African Art is certainly heating up, with exciting conversations igniting across the field, fueled by milestones including the opening of Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art and the Norval Foundation in Cape Town, growth of international art fairs such as 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, New York and Marrakech, Art X Lagos, and of course the highly-anticipated Ghana Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. Sotheby’s own entry into the field further attests the position of modern and contemporary African art firmly in the global market.
Last season’s sale at Sotheby’s totalled £2.3 million ($3 million) and attracted collectors from 20 different countries. 2018s sales saw strong results for established artists including Ben Enwonwu (Obitun Dancer; £187,500/$265,744) and El Anatsui (Tagomizor; £670,000/$883,730) to rising stars like Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, just 27 years old, whose Mangbetu soared to five times above the pre-sale high estimate (£65,000/$92,124).
This year’s public exhibition and sale will include a carefully curated collection of paintings, photographs, drawings and sculpture from across the African continent. Witnessing first-hand the growth in demand, audience and variety of works, Sotheby’s Head of Department Hannah O’Leary states:
“African art has undergone something of a Renaissance in the past decade, signaled by rapidly developing interest from collectors across the globe. Indeed, over a quarter of buyers in last year’s sale were from the African continent but the categories collector base spans Asia, Europe, Australasia and North America, and it is fantastic to see African artists surging to the forefront of international collections, both private and public.”