Masterpiece from Nigeria, a painting “Tutu“, accidentally found after 40 years in one London apartment, was sold at auction for more than a million pounds.
Ben Enwonwu’s painting from 1974 on which he painted royal Princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu, became a symbol of reconciliation after the conflict in Biafra, separated from Nigeria from 1967 to 1970, according to BBC.
The painting, estimated at £200,000 – £300,000, was sold for £1,205,000.
Writer Ben Okri thinks that the discovery of that artwork, which has been missing for more than 40 years, “is most significant in contemporary African art in the last 50 years.”
The painting was discovered by Giles Peppiatt, Director of Modern and Contemporary African Art at Bonhams when he was asked to evaluate the artwork in a “modest apartment in northern London”.
Peppiatt said that he regularly received calls to look at the versions of the “Tutu” paintings that were copies.
It isn’t known how the piece came to London, and the owners demanded anonymity.
Enwonwu, who is considered to be the father of Nigerian modernism, painted three versions of the painting “Tutu”, and until recently all three of them were missing.
The copy discovered in London is the second version, says Guardian. The first painting, from 1973, was stolen in 1994. It is not known where she is today, and the same is the case with the third version.