Modern & Contemporary African Art

Online Auction: 2–9 October 2020 • 3:00 PM BST • London
Modern & Contemporary African Art 2–9 October 2020 • 3:00 PM BST • London

W e are delighted to present our largest Modern & Contemporary African Art sale to date, consisting 120 works by 66 artists from every corner of the continent and covering 100 years of African art history. It is a sale of newly discovered gems by the giants of African art – from El Anatsui’s shimmering sculpture and Irma Stern’s portraits of South African women to 12 extraordinary fresh-to-the-market works by Ben Enwonwu and two paintings by rising star Amoako Boafo.


Featured Highlights

Irma Stern

Sotheby’s is delighted to offer this exquisite collection of works by Irma Stern; each one a testament to the artist’s unique vision and unrivalled artistic skill. Together these pieces trace Stern’s journey from a controversial young artist in Cape Town to the critically acclaimed and internationally recognised artist that Stern always believed she was destined to be.

A Life Well Travelled

Recognised as one of South Africa’s most important artists, Stern remains at the epicentre of modern South African art history and is celebrated for the resounding effect that her life and art had both in South Africa and abroad. A truly international creative force, Stern never felt restricted by the physical or cultural boundaries of South Africa, travelling extensively throughout Europe and Africa in search of new inspiration and subjects to paint.

Ben Enwonwu

Ben Enwonwu was a pioneer of African modernism. The son of a reputable sculptor, from whom the artist learned his early carving skills, he received a scholarship to study in the UK in 1944, where he attended Goldsmiths College and the Slade. By 1949 he was declared ‘Africa’s greatest artist’ by Ebony Magazine and profiled by Time Magazine in 1950. He was awarded an MBE in 1955 by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the arts and the following year became the first African artist to receive a royal commission.

Spanning close to 60 years, Enwonwu’s artistic career followed one of the most important periods of Modern Nigerian history; the journey from a British colony to a newly independent African nation. By his passing in 1994 Ben Enwonwu was, and would continue to be, considered one of the most revered African artists of the 20th century.

Art from all across Africa
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  • Egypt

    KHALED HAFEZ | FLIGHT OF THE HALF GODS

    Estimate: 30,000 - 50,000 GBP

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  • Nigeria

    BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA | IBIEBE ALPHABET

    Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP

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  • Ethiopia

    WOSENE WORKE KOSROF | BILLIE SINGS THE BLUES

    Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP

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  • Morocco

    HASSAN EL GLAOUI | UNTITLED (CAVALCADE DE CHEVAUX EN LIBERTÉ)

    Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP

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  • Madagascar

    JOËL ANDRIANOMEARISOA | UNTITLED, CHANSON DE MA TERRE LOINTAINE SERIES

    Estimate: 12,000 - 18,000 GBP

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  • Democratic Republic of Congo

    EDDY KAMUANGA ILUNGA | FRAGILE 11

    Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 GBP

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  • Sudan

    KAMALA IBRAHIM ISHAQ | THE SEAT - ZAR CEREMONY

    Estimate: 24,000 - 30,000 GBP

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  • Mali

    ABDOULAYE KONATÉ | VERT POUR SIDY

    Estimate: 18,000 - 24,000 GBP

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  • Uganda

    GEOFFREY MUKASA | SELF-PORTRAIT

    Estimate: 6,000 - 8,000 GBP

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  • Ghana

    IBRAHIM MAHAMA | UNTITLED, KAWOKUDI INSTALLATION

    Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 GBP

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  • Senegal

    IBA N'DIAYE | SELF-PORTRAIT

    Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP

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  • South Africa

    MARY SIBANDE | A TERRIBLE BEAUTY IS BORN, LONG LIVE THE DEAD QUEEN SERIES

    Estimate: 12,000 - 18,000 GBP

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'For the Love of Jazz'

These artists all had a deep love of jazz, from Wosene Kosrof's homage to Billie Holiday, to Gerard Sekoto, who played in a jazz band in Paris to make ends meet.

Featured Lots

‘Self portraits’

These artists have all chosen to present their own selves in these artworks, from Iba N'Diaye's nod to Rembrandt to Zanele Muholi, who shines a spotlight on herself as representative of LGBTQ South Africans.

Featured Lots

'Next Generation'

These artists are all still under the age of 40 and have already made a splash in the international art world.

Featured Lots

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