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Breaking News: Enwonwu’s ‘Tutu’ Is In Lagos

Tutu, 1974, oil-on-canvas by Ben Enwonwu

Tutu, 1974, oil-on-canvas by Ben Enwonwu

FUNKE OSAE-BROWN

Famous painting of an Ile-Ife Princess Tutu, by late artist, Ben Enwonwu, which was sold at the whooping sum of £1, 208, 000, at the Bohams Auction of African Art earlier in March, is showing at the ongoing Artx Lagos, which opened on Friday evening with a cocktail.

The painting was bought by an anonymous collector during a phone-in duel between two bidders. The bid surpassed the £200,000 and £300,000 price placed on it by Bonhams. It moved on to £900,000 a price called by a Nigerian until someone who phoned in bided for £1, 208, 000, the final hammer price. Rumour has it that ‘Tutu’ was acquired by one of Nigeria’s new generation banks.

The late Enwonwu’s iconic piece, ‘Tutu’ was found in a London flat in February. It was a 1974 portrait of an Ile-Ife princess, Adetutu Ademiluyi.

Late Enwonwu who is regarded as the founding father of Nigerian modernism, painted three versions of ‘Tutu’ and the image became a symbol of national reunion. But all three were missing and became the subject of ample rumour.

The original painting of ‘Tutu’ was done in 1973 when he was a lecturer at the University of Ife, his son, Oliver Enwonwu told TLR in an exclusive interview in March. “Tutu was a young girl at the time my father did the painting. In fact, he told me he had to take permission from her parents before he painted her. The painting was very dear to my father’s heart.”

As at the time of filing this report, Oliver Enwonwu, the wine of Ben Enwonwu said it was nice the painting has returned home to Nigeria as she is now in safe hands.”

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