Artist to Know: Jadé Fadojutimi

Liz Catalano
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Sotheby’s to Offer Abstract Piece by Rising London Painter

Jadé Fadojutimi creates most of her color- and light-rich artworks at night. She describes herself as “not very good at sleeping,” a reality that leads to exuberant paintings made in the fading light of evening. This environment plays a key role in her work. Fadojutimi creates colorful abstract paintings that explore both her space and her identity. After obtaining her graduate degree in 2017, Fadojutimi experienced a near-meteoric rise in the art world. She became the youngest artist with work in the Tate collection and is now gaining ground in the art market. 

“Jadé is an exciting new voice in painting,” Alex Gartenfeld, the Artistic Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, told Galerie. “Her canvases present a truly fresh approach to abstraction and figuration and are rich with personal and pop cultural references.”

One of Jadé Fadojutimi’s 2019 paintings will soon come to auction with Sotheby’s. The piece, titled I’m pirouetting the night away, is the first lot of the upcoming Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale. Bidding starts at 3:00 PM BST (10:00 AM EDT) on June 29th, 2021. Learn more about the artist before the sale begins.

Jadé Fadojutimi with her painting. Image courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London.
Jadé Fadojutimi with her painting. Image courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London.

While Jadé Fadojutimi did not grow up around the arts, she knew that painting would be her path forward. She spent her childhood years absorbing music and media before enrolling in the Slade School of Art. Fadojutimi’s experiences there and at the Royal College of Art helped her develop confidence as a young artist. She later took a residency in Kyoto, Japan. The trip proved to be transformative. Despite her comfort with the language and culture, Fadojutimi felt out of place and artistically frustrated. She spent three angry days drawing her feelings in a locked room, and she unlocked her distinct visual language as a result.

Fadojutimi’s paintings use figurative elements at times, particularly when the artist aims to evoke a shape or idea. She often includes symbolism that is personally significant but mysterious to the ordinary viewer. Themes of self-identity only deepened in her work during the COVID-19 lockdowns. “I am curious how my art would have changed, had the pandemic not happened,” Fadojutimi said in a recent interview with Twin. “I think it has really propelled my art and my excitement and my thinking and my materials a lot faster than I would have thought it would, probably because I had so much time by myself.”

Jadé Fadojutimi, I’m pirouetting the night away, 2019. Image from Sotheby’s.
Jadé Fadojutimi, I’m pirouetting the night away, 2019. Image from Sotheby’s.

Fadojutimi created I’m pirouetting the night away in early 2019. The piece will cross Sotheby’s auction block with an estimate of GBP 80,000 to £120,000 (USD 112,850 – $169,250). It previously appeared in Fadojutimi’s show at PEER, London, her first at a British public institution. The painting reveals a fascination with color. Countless layers of dark blue, violet, and warm orange swirl and intersect in the composition. 

While the piece is distinctly abstract, Fadojutimi inserts parts of herself into the painting. She is a committed fan of anime and Japanese video games. Fadojutimi often plays instrumental soundtracks in her studio, drawing from the intersections of the sound, her environment, and her internal state. 

Fadojutimi is still considered a newcomer in the art world, though that status is changing. Pippy Houldsworth Gallery showed 12 of her canvases at Frieze London in the fall of 2020, particularly hoping to attract the attention of museums. Prices for the paintings fell between USD 26,000 and $58,500. 

Private collectors got the opportunity to bid on Fadojutimi’s work in the auction market a few months later. Christie’s offered a pair of paintings in a timed contemporary art sale in October. Together, they sold for GBP 40,000 (USD 56,425), well above the high estimate of GBP 3,000 (USD 4,230). Other auction houses quickly followed suit: Bonhams and Phillips offered examples of Fadojutimi’s work before the end of the year.

Jadé Fadojutimi, Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade, 2019. Image from Phillips/ Poly Auction.
Jadé Fadojutimi, Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade, 2019. Image from Phillips/ Poly Auction.

Phillips and Poly Auction recently offered a Fadojutimi painting in their dual-location contemporary art event. The sale achieved a new auction record for Fadojutimi. Her painting, titled Concealment: An essential generated by the lack of shade, sold for HKD 5,670,000 (USD 730,863). This price nearly doubled her previous record, set in 2020 when Lotus Land sold for USD 378,000 with Phillips. 

Fadojutimi continues her artistic practice as more collectors notice her work. Her first solo exhibition in the United States will open at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami in November of 2021. Other forthcoming events include exhibitions at Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin. This early success points to an exciting career ahead, one that Fadojutimi is ready to embrace.   

Jadé Fadojutimi’s I’m pirouetting the night away painting will be available with Sotheby’s on June 29th, 2021, starting at 3:00 PM BST (10:00 AM EDT). Visit Sotheby’s for more information and to register to bid.

Auction Daily regularly highlights the work of rising contemporary artists. Check out our profile of Sam Cox, also known as Mr. Doodle.

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James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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