Sotheby's | Nine records at the biggest modern and contemporary African art sale

Christine by Ben Enwonwu
One hundred works from 56 artists across 20 countries were offered at auction online by Sotheby's on October 15. So what was the outcome?


£4 million / $5.1 million (pre-sale estimate: £1.9-2.8 million / $2.4-3.5 million) – the highest total ever achieved for a sale in this category.


The sale was dominated by works from Gerard Sekoto and Ben Enwonwu. The matter's Christine (1971) scooped £1.1 million — seven times its estimate — whilst Cyclists in Sophiatown (1940) by Sekoto went for £362,500. Another high-performing lot was Mohamed Melehis' abstract painting, On Red No 1 67 (1963), which sold for £75,000, a whopping ten times its estimate.









Amongst the youngest artists, Eddy Ilunga Kamuanga (b.1991) saw two of his works take £50,000 and £62,500.


“If today’s auction confirms anything, it’s the position of African art as one of the most eclectic and exciting areas of the global art market today. Not only was today’s result the highest ever achieved for a sale of its kind, the auction included work from artists across 20 African countries – the highest number represented since we established the series in 2017," enthused Hannah O’Leary, Sotheby’s Head of Modern and Contemporary African Art.


New records were set by Julien Sinzogan, Ablade Glover, Fathi Afifi, Hussein Shariffe, Wosene Worke Kosrof, Peterson Kamwathi, Malangatana Ngwenya, Igshaan Adams and Cristiano Mangovo.

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