New Auction World Records for Grillo and Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu at Bonhams African Art Sale

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London – The Dancing Bride by Yusuf Adebayo Cameron Grillo (1934-2021) set a new auction world record for a work by the artist, achieving £350,250 against an estimate of £80,000 – 120,000 at Bonhams’ Modern & Contemporary African Art sale yesterday (Wednesday 9 March) in London. There was further success for works by other Nigerian artists; My Mama at 80 by Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu M.B.E (1917-1994) and Ogolo in Motion, also by Enwonu, each achieved £250,250, whilst Dancers, a rare work by Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu (1921-1996), sold for £47,750 – establishing an auction record for her work.

The 75-lot sale made a total of £2,317,860 with 68% sold by lot and 99% sold by value.

Giles Peppiatt, Bonhams Director of Modern & Contemporary African Art, commented: “It has been a pleasure to offer so many exceptional works in this sale, and we are delighted to have attained such impressive results. Clearly works by Nigerian artists in particular captured the attention of the bidders, and I am personally delighted to have set new auction world records for works by Yusuf Adebayo Cameron Grillo and Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu. This was the first time a work by Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu had ever appeared at auction before, yet her influence on contemporary Nigerian art was incredibly significant.”

Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu (Nigerian, 1921-1996), Dancers. Sold for £47,750
Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu (Nigerian, 1921-1996), Dancers. Sold for £47,750

Other highlights of the sale included:

  • There were also impressive results for works by the contemporary artist Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, “Aboudia” (Ivorian, born 1983). Untitled, 2016, achieved £237,750, whilst Untitled, 2013 sold for £187,750, and Untitled, 2016, sold for £137,750.
  • Three figures with bicycle. Sophiatown, circa 1940-42,by Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993). Sold for £162,750.
  • Mapogga Women with a Child by Alexis Preller (South African, 1911-1975). Sold for £56,500.
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