• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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El Anatsui


 El Anatsui still remains a collector’s delight, as his works top the list of the most expensive works available for sale at the 10th edition of Arthouse Contemporary art auction, which will take place in Lagos on Monday, May 13, 2013.

Anatsui’s work titled ‘Lanh’ is expected to be sold at the estimated price of N12 million to N15 million. ‘Lanh’ is a 2003 piece made of emulsion paint and gouache on wooden panels. In the November 2012 auction, El Anatsui’s ‘Grandma’s Cloth Series VI’ painted in 1992 selling at N12.54 million, which makes it the most expensive artwork sold by Arthouse in the year, at a positive variance of N2.5 million over the estimated price of N10 million. This year, Anatsui’s Lanh is expected to sell far more than that as he no longer works with wood as a medium.

“El Anatsui is still the biggest star this year,” says Nana Sonoiki of Arthouse Contemporary Ltd. He doesn’t do wood anymore, which makes ‘Lanh’ one of his rare pieces.

In addition to Anatsui, Ben Enwonwu is another big artist to look out for in the next auction. His untitled work will be sold at estimated price of N12 million to N15 million. The work is sourced from private collection.

“The Enwonwu Bronze, ‘Anyanwu’ was our fantasy sale sold at the 8th edition in May 2012 for N28 million, plus N2 million buyer’s premium,” recalls Sonoiki. “It was one of the most popular series he did. Bronzes naturally attract more attention. The intricacies on bronze work make it of premium value.”

At every auction, the works of masters are always in demand hence they are always reoccurring every year. “All the masters works are all star sales,” adds Sonoiki. “We hope to sell a 100 percent, that is, everything. I think we have progressed and more quality works are coming out, both from the artists and private collectors. We have a standard and we cannot go below that standard. The older artists are always in high demand, that’s why they are reoccurring.”

Auctions are always known as a market where rare piece of works are sold. Works on display at auctions are not the kind one sees in galleries, therefore the pricing is always competitive. “With auction, people want a special feeling with what they buy. People want a work that is rare, one that they can’t get anywhere or at any exhibition. It is time to begin to teach collectors to part with older works and get new ones. People don’t want to part with their millions and get works they can get at any gallery.”

Also, this month’s auction features the special charity auction, an initiative Arthouse started two years ago in conjunction with Standard Chartered Bank. This year, four works have been donated by artists for sale. The proceeds will be used for charity.

The Arthouse art auction market is conducted twice in year, May and November. In the month of May 2012, Arthouse Contemporary sold 108 lots for N101.68 million, with Demas Nwoko’s ‘Praise Singer’ selling at the highest hammer price of N7.7 million, as against the estimated price of between N8 million and N10 million.

Arthouse Contemporary is conceived as an international auction house with its greatest level of expertise resting in the Art of West Africa, and its greatest effort focused on the parity of international recognition towards the talented artists who are from or are based there.

The success of auctions focused on works from a specific region, as in the art of South Asia, China or Southeast Asia, is a benchmark for Arthouse Contemporary. These auctions help create awareness of the scope of that regionalised art, passionate interest in individual artists, and serve as a working database to be used for fair, market oriented valuations. These developments in the art world are encouraging for the similar prospective growth of traditional, modern and contemporary African Art.