A missing late Ben Enwuonwu’s Tutu painting resurfaces and is being autioned for £200,000-300,000,

The 1974 painting of the Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu, is a national icon in Nigeria, with poster reproductions hanging on walls in homes all over the country.


It was discovered in a London’s flat decades after it was last seen, the Guardian UK reports. the newspaper also reports that the late artist painted three versions of Tutu and that all three has gone missing before the present one was discovered.

It is said that the family owning the piece had approached Giles Peppiatt, the director of modern African art at the auction house Bonhams. The director calls the discovery “a real lightbulb moment” and “extraordinary” revealing that the art house gets approached every eight weeks to Tutu find, which invariably ends up being copies.


According to Peppiatt, the family does not want to be identified. He continues: “As is often the way, there are things your parents buy and you haven’t a clue why they bought it or what the value of it is … you just inherit it.”

Speaking of the finding, Nigerian international-renowned novelist Ben Okri says:

It amounts to the most significant discovery in contemporary African art in over fifty years. It is the only authentic Tutu, the equivalent of some rare archaeological find.

It is a cause for celebration, a potentially transforming moment in the world of art.”

Okri also told the Guardian that Enwonwu was already world-renowned as the greatest living African artist when, in the summer of 1973, three years after the end of the Nigerian civil war, he encountered the princess and was entranced, asking to paint her portrait.

The painting is up for auction on the 28 February and it is expected to fetch £200,000 and £300,000. the auction will also be broadcast to live to bidders in Lagos.


For more on this story, visit the Guardian website.




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