Powerful portraits by Amoako Boafo offered at Bonhams Modern & Contemporary Art sale

Art Daily
Published on
Amoako Boafo (B. 1984), Portrait of a Young Lady, 2018. 30.5 x 30.2 cm. Estimate: £6,000 - 9,000. Photo: Bonhams.
Amoako Boafo (B. 1984), Portrait of a Young Lady, 2018. 30.5 x 30.2 cm. Estimate: £6,000 – 9,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Two works by the rising star and much-admired artist of Art Basel Miami 2019, Amoako Boafo, Portrait of a Young Lady, and Portrait of a Young Man, will feature in Bonhams Modern & Contemporary Art sale on 23 June in London. Each work has an estimate of £6,000-9,000.

Born in Accra, Ghana in 1984 and based in Vienna, Austria, Amoako Boafo is a fast emerging artist. Having studied at the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Ghana, he followed curator and fellow artist, Sunanda Mesquita, now his wife, to Vienna in 2014, to pursue an MFA at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. He was awarded the Walter Koschatzky Art Award in 2017, for works on paper by an artist under the age of 35, and the STRABAG Artaward International in 2019 for works by an artist under the age of 40. Last year, Boafo made his Art Basel Miami debut with Chicago’s Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, where the entire booth sold out, and he was firmly established as one to watch.

Specialist in Post-war & Contemporary Art and Head of the Sale, Cassi Young, commented: “Amoako Boafo is one of the most exciting and important artists around right now. His striking portraits, with their incredible texture which is worked through the use of his fingers, and the piercing gaze of his figures, confront and captivate the viewer in equal measure. Portrait of a Young Lady, and Portrait of a Young Man are powerful and exceptional examples of Boafo’s practice and his desire to celebrate Black identity. Fresh from his work’s impressive auction debut in February, we are very excited to be able to offer these wonderful works in our sale.”

Despite Boafo’s mixed melody of influences, his style has often been compared to that of the famed Austrian artist Egon Schiele (1890-1918). Speaking of this influence on his work, Boafo commented “I just want my paintings to be as free as possible, and Schiele gave me that vibe — the strokes, characters, and composition… It helped to see another artist just dealing with himself and the people around him.” Boafo has emphasised, “The primary idea of my practice is representation, documenting, celebrating and showing new ways to approach blackness.” His most well-known series, the Black Diaspora portraits, are an expressive celebration of blackness and a powerful ode to his own identity.

Boafo’s work features in a number of important private collections and has been acquired by The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and The Albertina Museum, Vienna, as well as by the artist Kehinde Wiley.

Both works offered were acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2018.

It is anticipated that this sale at Bonhams New Bond Street saleroom will allow live bidding in the room for the first time since 13 March. Bids will also be accepted in the following formats: online, on the phone, or by leaving an absentee bid. All bidding will be done in accordance with the latest government guidelines.

Other sale highlights include:

• Twenty Four Hours, 2008-2009 by Damien Hirst (B. 1965). Estimate: £15,000 – 20,000.

• The Souls on Jacob’s Ladder Take Their Flight, 2008 by Damien Hirst (B. 1965). Estimate: £10,000 – 15,000.

• Creativity: Furniture Reversal, 1998-1999 by Franz West (1947-2012). Estimate: £10,000 – 15,000.

• Studio, 1994 by Cao Li (B. 1954). Estimate: £10,000 – 15,000.

• Site III, 2016 by Antony Gormley (B. 1950). Estimate: £5,000 – 7,000.