Rare and never seen before African artworks will be on auction at The Sotheby’s in a few days. In the auction coming up, masterpieces by the fathers of African Modernism like Nigeria’s Ben Enwonwu, South Africa Gerard Sekoto and a host of other African artists will take center stage.
An enchanting rediscovered portrait of pioneering Nigerian Master, Enwonwu’s Christine which will appear at auction for the first time has remained largely unseen since its creation in 1971. Christine will star alongside Cyclists in Sophia Town, one of the earliest masterpieces by Enwonwu’s South African contemporary, Gerard Sekoto with whom he shared a studio in Paris. Painted in 1940, Sekoto’s work sought to document the dramatic social change of the time and the harsh socio-economic reality of lives of black South Africans in the years leading up to apartheid. The duo was largely responsible for the establishment of African modernism and undoubtedly two of the most important artists of the 20th century.
Other highlights of the auction include early 20th century works, such as the monumental Summer Rain in the Bushveld 1918 by JH Pierneef, and a watercolour by Albert Lubaki that marked the beginning of painting in the Congo, paving the way for Moke and Cheri Samba, and superlative examples of both artists’ work will also be on offer.
Further highlights in the sale include Bel Atlas by Bodys Isek Kingelez which marked a more recent historical moment when it was included only last year in the first-ever MoMA exhibition of work by a black African artist. Other important works on auction include El Anatsui’s and Ibrahim Mahama’s both of whom represented Ghana in its prominent debut pavilion at the Venice Biennale earlier this year, alongside rare and important works by William Kentridge, Cheri Samba, Albert Lubaki, Hassan el Glaoui, Malangatana, Abdoulaye Konate, Wosene Worke Kosrof and Eddy Kamuanga Illunga among many others.
Sotheby’s sales of Modern and Contemporary African Art champion the work of artists from across the African continent and will hold on October 15, 2019.