Ben Enwonwu’s Nigerian Symphony is set to lead Bonhams’ Africa Now sale with an estimate of £100,000-150,000 ($132,630-198,945).
The auction presents contemporary art from across the continent. It’s taking place in London on October 5.
Enwonwu painted Nigerian Symphony three years after Nigeria won independence
Enwonwu painted Nigerian Symphony in 1963-1964, shortly after Nigeria gained hard-won independence from Britain.
The scene depicts a bustling marketplace, interpreted as an allegory for a new nation brimming with optimism and growing in prosperity.
Measuring almost six feet across, it’s among the largest works in Enwonwu’s catalogue.
Bonhams' director of African art, Giles Peppiatt, describes Nigerian Symphony as a "powerful and exuberant celebration of the Nigerian people's strength and resilience by the country's most beloved artist.
“Painted at a pivotal moment in the country's history, I anticipate the work will be of great interest to collectors both in Africa and further afield."
Enwonwu is renowned as both sculptor and painter. His record for a painting is £218,500 ($321,410), set for Spirit of Ogolo last year.
However, it’s his sculptures that have proven the biggest hit on the international market. The overall record for his work is £353,000 ($468,183), set for a sculpture titled Anyanwu in February this year.
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