Sotheby’s launches its first Modern and Contemporary African Art Auction

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Sotheby's Modern and Contemporary African Art Auction

Contemporary African Art is booming with record number of exhibitions and fairs. Last year, Sotheby’s announced it was joining the fray with the creation of the department for Modern and Contemporary African Art headed by Hannah O’Leary. O’Leary brought with her a wealth of knowledge of the African Art market as she had spent a decade at Bonhams – The first international auction house to introduce a dedicated African Art Auction – Africa now.

The result of a year’s worth of work is on display at Sotheby’s in London; a Modern and Contemporary African Art exhibition of 116 Art works by 64 Artists, open to the public ahead of the auction scheduled on May 16th.

Sothebys Modern and Contemporary African Art Auction

The diversity of the selection is very impressive. A diversity that spans eras (modern and contemporary) and style. By gathering such a broad selection of art works under the same roof, the exhibition emphasizes the wide range of styles of African artists: from the impressionist type of paintings of Amon Kotei to the ‘Popular Painting’ of Cheri Samba.

The growth of the African Art Market is led primarily by its economic power houses: South Africa – with an existing art infrastructure made of art galleries, auction houses, numerous artists and art schools along with private and corporate collectors – followed by Nigeria. Together these 2 countries make up nearly 50% of the art works that will be auctioned at Sothebys. Evidently, the future of African Art depends on these two countries and their diaspora, but also on the development of the Art scene and the economic prospects in other countries that are also represented: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Angola and Benin – to name just a few.

But for now, the auction at Sotheby’s is an exceptional platform for both household names like El Anatsui, Yinka Shonibare MBE or Irma Stern and emerging artists such as Eddy Ilunga Kamuanga or Ephrem Solomon. For Modern and Contemporary African Art as a whole, it is a momentous milestone.

The Modern and Contemporary African Art Auction is scheduled for 16 May 2017 at 2PM BST. 

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