Sotheby’s is proud to present the October 2023 Modern & Contemporary African Art Auction in London. Occurring in tandem with renowned art fairs such as Frieze London and 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the auction features a diverse selection of highly coveted and culturally significant works spanning the breadth of African post-colonial history. Highlights of the auction include works by El Anatsui, Eddy Ilunga Kamuanga, Ben Enwonwu, Maggie Laubser, George Pemba, Malangatana, Cecil Skotnes, Uche Okeke, Pascale Martine Tayou, Gavin Jantjes and Portia Zvavahera.
At the forefront of this season’s auction is with Lenka’s Family (est. £80,000-120,000), a masterpiece by renowned artist, Vladimir Tretchikoff making its market debut. This striking portrait depicts Tretchikoff’s muse, Lenka, as the eastern version of ‘Venus’ and exemplifies the artist’s signature fusion of Western and Eastern influences. Lenka’s Family conveys the nuances of human expression and personality that came to be a hallmark of Tretchikoff’s artistry. His works often featured individuals from various backgrounds, and his use of colour and composition imbues each piece with a true sense of storytelling and intrigue. Following this work is Acacia Trees in the Veld (est. £50,000-70,000), a perfect example of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef’s famed bushveld scenes. Over the course of his long and hallowed career, which mirrored the rise of Afrikaner nationalism in South Africa in the wake of independence from the British, Pierneef’s elegant and simplified portrayals would come to define South African landscape painting of that period.
These tour de force works share the spotlight with a remarkable fresh to market painting by renowned Nigerian modernist Ben Enwonwu, titled Africa Dances (est. £80,000-120,000). This captivating portrait offers a glimpse into Enwonwu’s perspective on rapidly evolving modern Nigerian culture, utilizing symbolic imagery from his Onitsha-Igbo heritage, particularly in scenes of dance and ritual performance. Also featured in the auction is Gerard Sekoto’s La Fille Avec Turban (est. £30,000-50,000), an intimate portrait by one of South Africa’ foremost modernists. Created in 1978, decades after his exile from South Africa, this portrait vividly illustrates Sekoto’s exploration of the human spirit through the lens of social realism, acting as windows into the collective consciousness of a nation undergoing profound societal change.
Sotheby’s is also pleased to present works by highly coveted artists such as William Kentridge, Dylan Lewis, Kudzanai Chiurai, Simphiwe Ndzube, Zanele Muholi, Gareth Nyandoro, Helen Sidibi, Bambo Sibiya, Mishek Masamvu and Nengi Omuku among many others.
Click here to view the complete catalogue. The auction will open for bidding on 13 October and close on 19 October at 15:00BST (16:00SAST).