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Arthouse’s main auction debuts online with modern, contemporary masters

By Tajudeen Sowole
10 June 2020   |   4:08 am
Nearly two months after Arthouse Contemporary had its online charity auction in support of COVID-19 relief fund, the auctioneer is back with its premium sales.

Portrait of A Man (oil on board, 1956) by Akinola Lasekan

Nearly two months after Arthouse Contemporary had its online charity auction in support of COVID-19 relief fund, the auctioneer is back with its premium sales.

Both modern and contemporary artists will participate in the bidding, which started on June 9, and ends June 15, 2020.

According to the auction house, for the first time, its main modern and contemporary sales are being conducted online.

The debut online for the main auction, Arthouse explained, is “due to the restrictions of social gatherings as a result of the pandemic,” in Lagos.

Holding on an auction and marketplace online platform named ‘Invaluable’,, the sales feature 96 lots of artworks from the modern period and cutting edge contemporary art.

Bidding online on Invaluable opens 10:00 am, and ends 10:00 pm.

In mid April 2020, Arthouse’s online charity auction raised over ₦1,200,000 million, which was said to have been distributed to “deserving” communities in Lagos. In the auction house’s usual tradition of over 12 years, the main sales, again, though online currently, also features the charity lots section, which is expected to generate more funds in support of the ongoing fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos.

For the main auction, featured masters include Ben Enwonwu, Akinola Lasekan, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Okpu Eze, Ben Osawe, Abayomi Barber, Abiodun Olaku, Chuks Anyanwu, David Dale and Jimoh Buraimoh. Among the lots is one of the iconic paintings in Nigeria’s secondary art market space. Titled ‘Portrait of A Man’, the painting by Lasekan, oil on board and dated 1956, depicts a seated subject in his elaborate male fashion of Yoruba three-piece-garment agbada.

Confirming the diversity in the two generations of artists assembled for the auction is, among others, a painting by Duke Asidere titled, Hairdo and dated 1991.

A four-figure of females captured inside what looks like hairdressing salon, the painting represents contemporary scene of ladies’ process of beauty and fashion.

An impressionistic texture titled Touareg Beggar, gouache on paper, 1951, by Enwonwu; Glover’s Market Women, oil on canvas, 2015; Duologue, charcoal pastel on paper, 2019 by Rom Isichei; and Peju Alatise’s See Me Series, acrylic on canvas, 2015 are among the lots for the auction.

Other top contemporary artists in the online auction include, Alimi Adewale, Chike Obeagu, Gerald Chukwuma, Sokari Douglas Camp, Jerry Buhari, Eva Obodo, Victor Ekpuk, Duke Asidere, Ben Osaghae, Chidi Kwuibiri, Sam Ovraiti, and Ngozi-Omeje Ezema, among others.

International artists from outside of Nigeria include Ablade Glover, Kofi Agorsor, Dominique Zinkpe, Armand Boua, Kofi Setordji, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou and Camara Amadu Guyeye. Also included are prints of Ben Enwonwu, Uzo Egonu, Yinka Shonibare and David Dale.

The charity lots section has four pieces of Muraina Oyelami, Lemi Ghariokwu, Jimmy Nwanne and Solomon Wangboje, in support of COVID-19 related aid during the pandemic. Specifically, funds raised from the charity lots, Arthouse assured, “will be donated to our partner, Global Shapers, Lagos Hub, to support feeding and supplies in underserved communities in Lagos State.” The auction house added, “funds raised with these charity lots will continue these efforts at a much needed time of uncertainty.”

In expanding its reach onto the global art market space, Arthouse has chosen Invaluable, an online auction platform and marketplace that is used by the world’s leading auction houses and galleries. Among the benefits of the Invaluable platform is the feeling of being in actual auction room. “Bidders gain access to an exclusive online bidding console that simulates all of the aspects of being at the auction house.”

Arthouse also stressed that Invaluable bidding is “user friendly, safe and secure.” Explaining that the platform makes bidding easy, giving bidders “confidence,” other benefits include “tools like language translation, currency conversion, and a real-time message center.”

Shortly before the lockdown, Arthouse had its 2020 edition of Affordable Art auction in March. Five-edition-old, the Affordable Art Auction, which held inside Kia Showroom, Lagos, had a total of N35,762,500 ($99,340) during the evening’s sale. From 103 lots of emerging and established artists, in addition to five charity lots, the event recorded more than 50% of total works on sale. The Affordable Auction sales featured charity lots by Oladele Awosoga, Nkechi Nwosu-Igbo, A. Akande, Em Inwang and Agemo Francis, in support of the Arthouse Foundation, the non-profit artist residency programme in Lagos, raising a total of N750,000,” curator at Arthouse, Joseph Gergel stated.