Young Cameroonian artist Marc Padeu sets surprising new records at Piasa Contemporary African art auction

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Marc Padeu, Voici l'homme !, 2019. Courtesy of the artist
Marc Padeu, Voici l’homme !, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

For African Art lovers, Piasa’s contemporary African art auction has become a standard feature on the Parisian autumnal art calendar alongside the art and design fair AKAA, Also Known As Africa. However, the more surprising aspects of the auction were the new records established by young Cameroonian artist Marc Padeu and other artists recently introduced to the secondary market.

Marc Padeu (né en 1990, Cameroun) The king is dead, 2019. Courtesy of the artist
Marc Padeu (né en 1990, Cameroun) The king is dead, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

Both of Marc Padeu’s large-scale figurative paintings, The King is Dead, and Voici L’homme! are vivid re-interpretations of Biblical scenes featuring Black characters with intense dark skin treatment reminiscent of Kerry James Marshal’s work. They soared past their high estimates of €8,000 to be sold for €195,000 apiece (premium included). It’s a notable price for the contemporary African art sector, where prices are, on average, significantly lower than those recorded in the wider contemporary art market.

It’s been a year of highs for the young artist whose previous record of €31,200 ($50,000) was established at the same Parisian auction house back in May. His bold paintings imbued with concerns about the spiritual impact of colonisation and issues of representation have resonated with international collectors. The prices of his work on the secondary market have steadily increased ever since his work first appeared at auction at Piasa in November 2018. Coincidentally a day after this latest auction, the London-based Gallery Jack Bell announced it would start representing Marc Padeu.

 

Related Story: Celebrated Nigerian artist, Ben Enwonwu dominates a lacklustre Modern & Contemporary African Art Auction at Bonhams

 

 Joseph Ntensibe, Tropical garden 2, 2019
Joseph Ntensibe, Tropical garden 2, 2019

Other highlights of the auction include Joseph Ntensibe’s luscious tropical garden, 2 (2019). The painting sold for €156,000, 10 times its high estimate of €15,000.

Cristiano Mangovo Bras, Les amours contemporains, 2019
Cristiano Mangovo Bras, Les amours contemporains, 2019

Born in 1982, Cristiano Mangovo is a young artist making waves at auction with his vivid, surrealist looking paintings. The record for his highest-priced work had only been established at Sotheby’s latest Modern and Contemporary African Art auction in October. That record was broken less than a month later when his painting Les amours contemporains (2019) sold for €65,000.

William Tagne Njepe Twilliam, Africa today, 2019.
William Tagne Njepe Twilliam, Africa today, 2019

William Tagne Njepe Twilliam is a young Cameroonian artist whose work is centered on the economic exploitation of children. His painting Africa today (2019), evokes the harsh reality behind the consumption of diamonds in the west. It sold for €27,300, nearly five times its high estimate of €5,500.

Peter Ngugi, Small ponds, 2019
Peter Ngugi, Small ponds, 2019

Peter Ngugi had already featured at auction at the Modern and Contemporary Art auction organised in Kenya by Circle art Agency. It was the first time he appeared at auction in Europe. His Small ponds, (2019), initially estimated between €6,000 and €8,000 sold for €26,000.

Aida Muluneh (née en 1974, Ethiopie) The Outsider Inside (série The world is 9) , 2016
Aida Muluneh, The Outsider Inside (série The world is 9), 2016.

Aida Muluneh is one of the most respected photographers of the continent, even if her work has only been listed at auction once. Her practice is centered on capturing the agency and “fierce intensity” of her female characters and turning the tide on a long tradition of objectifying the Black female body. Her exhibition Water Life was a highlight of the 1:54 art fair in London in October. One of her earlier works, The Outsider Inside (série The world is 9), (2016), has established a new record of €14,300 at auction.

Overall, 93 out of 138 lots were sold for a total of €1.5million.

Related Story: Celebrated Nigerian artist, Ben Enwonwu dominates a lacklustre Modern & Contemporary African Art Auction at Bonhams.

Related Story: Celebrated Nigerian artist, Ben Enwonwu dominates a lacklustre Modern & Contemporary African Art Auction at Bonhams.

 

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