The once-missing painting of Ife royal princess Adetutu Ademiluyi by artist, Ben Enwonwu, has sold for £1,205,000, approximately N520.2 million.
The auction took place on Wednesday at Bonhams Africa Now sale in London.
The painting, discovered a few weeks ago, dates back to 1974 and was one of the three original versions of Tutu painted by Enwonwu.
The artist, regarded as the founding father of Nigerian modernism, painted three versions of Tutu and the image became a symbol of national reconciliation. But all three were lost and became the subject of much speculation.
Tutu is regarded as his greatest masterpiece – the image was on display at his funeral in 1994.
In a new approach to bidding, the auction was broadcast live to a Bonhams auction event at The Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos.
Bidders participated in the auction in real time.
Bonhams had set an estimate of £200,000-300,000 for the painting before the auction but the masterpiece defied the numbers and made more than four times of the expectation.
“It is a well deserved prize for a well renowned artist,” said Neil Coventry, the Bonhams Lagos coordinator.
The winning bidder was not disclosed.
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