Artcurial Celebrates Historic and Contemporary African Art in November Sale
An upcoming Artcurial auction celebrates exemplary works from contemporary African artists such as Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou (b. 1965). Agbodjélou emerged as a leading photographer of the Republic of Benin in the late 20th century. Born to Joseph Agbodjélou, a renowned photographer, the younger artist learned from his father. Agbodjélou portrays the experiences of a modern generation stuck between tradition and progress. He often uses a medium format film and a daylight studio to develop his work.
One of Agbodjélou’s recent projects, titled Série Demoiselles de Porto-Novo, highlights the everyday life of young women residing in Benin. While some of his photographs show people wearing traditional Yoruba robes, others depict a sense of modernity with the subjects wearing sunglasses. Artcurial will present an untitled triptych from this series. It carries a presale estimate of USD 9,248 to $13,872. In this split image, viewers can see a semi-nude woman wearing a traditional skirt and mask to represent the past and present of the Porto-Novo community. She stands in a dark room with blue walls and a tiled floor.
Cameroonian-born Nigerian artist Samuel Fosso started his art career at an early age. In 1972, the Nigerian Civil War forced Fosso to leave his home for Bangui in the Central African Republic. At the age of 13, he began taking self-portraits. Fosso sent them to his mother, informing her of his well-being. This forged his path as an artist.
Today, Samuel Fosso is among Central Africa’s leading contemporary photographers. His self-portraiture style explores African culture through different disguises and personas. With his portraits, Fosso also challenges and celebrates the Pan-African identity. Among the highlights of Artcurial’s contemporary African art auction is a self-portrait from Fosso, titled Fosso Fashion (estimate: $1,387 – $1,734). The inkjet print on matte paper shows Fosso wearing a suit and an overcoat. The auction also includes several other black-and-white photos from Fosso’s Fashion series.
Speaking about his work, Nigerian artist Samson Bakare has said, “My art is a time machine through which you can travel to the past from this present moment and you can also behold the future from the same standpoint.” His paintings celebrate Black identity in both contemporary and retrospective contexts. He frequently portrays Black people in positions of power, challenging Western histories that have long marginalized them.
His anti-imperialist stance can be noted in paintings like Everything blue and beautiful (2021). Artcurial presents this work with an estimate of $3,468 to $5,780. In the painting, a man gazes at the viewer while holding a Jeff Koons-style blue balloon animal. The figure wears an ivory suit and sports a hot pink hairstyle.
Exceptional contemporary African art pieces from Mohau Modisakeng, Pierre Verger, and Malick Sidibé will go under the hammer with Artcurial on November 16th, 2021. Bidding will begin at 9:30 AM EST. Browse the full listings by visiting Artcurial.
Looking for more auction world news? Auction Daily explored a recent Swann Auction Galleries sale that featured works from renowned Black American artists.