The painting was scheduled for auction at an estimation of $400,000 making it the most valued piece of Nigerian art. Yesterday, “Tutu” went up for auction at Bonhams in London, and it shattered estimations by selling for a record-breaking 1.6 million dollars (1.2 million pounds).
#saleupdate The incredibly rare and remarquable portrait of “Tutu”, Nigeria’s cultural icon, by Ben Enwonwu and the star lot in tonight’s sale, surpasses its high est. £300k selling for £1,205,000. A new world record! 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/BKVVBUAgd3
— BONHAMS (@bonhams1793) February 28, 2018
The identity of the buyer is yet to be disclosed but here is the story of how the painting came to be, via CNN.
Enwonwu was walking in the Nigerian countryside when he met a beautiful young woman whom he just had to paint, according to Bonhams auction house in London. Her name is Adetutu Ademiluyi, abbreviated as Tutu, and she was a princess in her city of Ife in south-western Nigeria.
The painting along with two others went missing back in 1994. The whereabouts of the other two paintings remain unknown.