The ‘African Mona Lisa’ goes on auction today

A seminal work by the Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu, now famously unearthed in a modest flat in London and heralded as the African Mona Lisa, goes on sale today. The work, a portrait of the Ife princess Adetutu ‘ Tutu’ Ademiluyi, has not been seen for several decades. Enwonwu, enamoured with her beauty, painted three portraits of her in 1974, this is the first of which is to come to light, and to auction.

The image of Tutu has since become a symbol of Nigerian reconciliation and is the most widely produced print in Nigeria, adorning the walls of most middle class homes.  The discovery of this symbol of Nigerian independence is being celebrated as the most important discovery in modern African art in the last 50 years.

The portrait, which is being…

Read More