Most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned in recent times

Famous paintings by talented Nigerian artists like Ben Enwonwu, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Clement Nwafor, Toyin Ojih
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Emeh Joy

Art is creativity. Art is beautiful. Art is also expensive! If you are an art lover, you surely must have thought about the most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned in recent times.

It is almost impossible to put a price on a premium masterpiece such as the Mona Lisa, which was insured for as much as $100m some years ago. Discover some of the most expensive paintings by talented Nigerian artists.

Bush Babies - N1.2 billion

Most expensive Nigerian painting: Bush Babies by Akunyili Njideka Crosby

The Nigerian-born painter and daughter of late Professor Dora Akunyili, Njideka Akunyili Crosby leads in this list of the most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned in recent times.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby's painting is not just the most expensive here, but she also has more expensive pieces that made it to this list.

In September 2018, her painting, Bush Babies was purchased at the enormous sum of $3.4 million at Sotheby's art house in New York thus, making it the most expensive Nigerian painting sold out at an auction.

Sotheby's describe this talented artist, Akunyili Njideka as "the most valuable Nigerian artist ever and one of the most valuable female artists of all times.

The Beautyful Ones - N1.1 billion

The beautiful ones, a painting by the Nigerian artist, Njideka Akunyili Crosby is the second most expensive Nigerian painting auctioned in recent times

This high-valued gem is another piece of art from Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The mixed media painting depicts her elder sister. The Beautyful Ones is the second most expensive Nigerian painting auctioned in recent times.

It was acquired at Christie's London in 2017 at the whopping sum of $3,075,774. Njideka made the painting during her residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem in the year 2012.

Tutu - N508 million

Tutu, the piece of art by late Ben Enwonwu is another beautiful Nigerian painting that is rated one of the most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned recently

The masterpiece, Tutu, was created by the veteran contemporary artist, Late Ben Enwonwu in 1973. It is ranked third in this list of the most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned in recent times.

Back then, the Tutu painting was in fact, ranked on the same level as the highly-rated Mona Lisa by art collectors.

The 1973 portrait broke previous records in March 2018 when it sold at $1.68 million at Bonhams thus making it one of the most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned recently.

Nigerian novelist Ben Okri describing the pice of art said it is "the most significant discovery in contemporary African art in over 50 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".

Drown - N400 million

Drown, a portrait of Njideka Akunyili and her husband is rated in this list as the fourth most expensive Nigerian painting auctioned in recent times

The Drown painting is another one coming from Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Now, you see why she leads in this list.

One intriguing thing about most of Njideka's paintings and artworks is that they seem to be inspired by events and people surrounding her.

This particular picture mirrors her life; this time, a portrait of her and her husband, also made up of a collage that tells the political history of Nigeria.

Drown was purchased at the price of $1,092,500 at Sotheby's New York in 2016, thus placing it in this notable list of the most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned recently.

The Compound Leaf - N200 million

The Compound Leaf, a beautiful painting by Toyin Odutola is one of the most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned recently

The compound leaf is a beautiful painting created by Toyin Ojih Odutola. It is rated here as the fifth most expensive Nigerian painting auctioned in recent times.

Odutola became one of the highest-paid Nigerian artists of all time when her drawing, Compound Leaf sold for $597,336 at the Sotheby's in June 2019.

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