The latest event related to the contemporary african art market, during 2018 a still rich year for the thriving african arts scene, took place last wednesday in Paris (FR), with contemporary artists from Africa, at Piasa*, and the sale auction provided new records for contemporary african art market.
Artworks sold during this sales session devoted to the contemporary african arts scene reached around $1,2 million (including buyer’s premium) setting a new benchmark for the art market with new records such as Saint Etienne Yéanzi (born in 1988 – Ivory coast), with “Tokoos,3” (Mixed collage) sold for 67600 €. (see photo above).
Another sale highlights were one of the market’s top-selling painter Aboudia (born in 1983 – Ivory coast) and a “new in the market” artist Cristiano Mangovo Brás (born in 1982, Angola) both for their paintings sold 36 400 € and 32500€, respectively.
Where some surprises (to discover here : https://piasa.auction.fr/_en/vente/art-contemporain-africain-58780#.W-76Bad7Q6g) could be understood as a result from a possible underestimation, what we see time and again, is collectors responding to things that are fresh to market!
Note to collectors about this auction sale : A large selection of works, with big names and established artists, has been sold including the so-called “historical” ones to “fast-track” valued artists. The 145-lot sale included contemporary works in all media, painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and tapestry, allowing everyone to place bids on works, with estimates ranging from 1 000€ to 50 000 €.
More generally, so called “contemporary african art market “is hoping to be one of the next boom areas of the art market and whether you’re new to art collecting or a seasoned bidder, these are information you cannot miss. Since a few years, the art world shows growing interest in modern and contemporary art from Africa and the diaspora, and enthusiasm is confirmed by the ever-increasing number of events, biennales, exhibitions, devoted fairs and dedicated sales based in Europe (Paris and London in particular), in the United States, and on the African continent, with a strong signal to the art market since contemporary african art goes on display in Beijing (China) last October.
For a long time, museum institutions have taken the measure of the role of African creation in the history of art (in particular with dadaism, surrealism and cubism styles). When it comes to contemporary creation from Africa and its diaspora (XXth and XXIth century), auctions sales are witnessing a consolidation of demand for well-identified artistic practices (painting, textile art and photography in particular). Where some contemporary artistic currents are expressed even beyond geographical borders in Africa, such as most recently “afrogallonism “*, artists who choose to claim a cultural connection with the continent and not only because of their socio-cultural roots, propose a global perspective dealing with universal themes and subjects.
Market prices analysis: Since October 2018, three successive auction sales dedicated to contemporary art of Africa, have been held. First in London during the 1:54 Contemporary African art fair, with Africa Now at Bonhams, then Sotheby’s Modern and contemporary African Art, and more recently in Paris (Fr) at Cornette de St Cyr auction house, as part of its last contemporary art sale. Last wednesday, Piasa* brought up the rear with an auction sale that addressed some collectors who attended in France last week the Paris Photo Fair and Akaa (Also Know as Africa) 1st Art and Design Fair centered on Africa.
Recent auctions of contemporary african art at Bonhams and Sotheby’s raised around 2 millions pounds each, including some surprises as can happen in art markets and allowing few artists to reach important prices aligned with those of the global contemporary art market. For some artists, and in particular so-called emergent ones because new on the art market, prices development could be dazzling. Beside top-ranked established artists with market value built over time, new talented artists discovered during last contemporary art biennales (Venice (Italy) and Dakar (Senegal)) come into museum’s collections and art foundations, thanks to a worldwide exposure skillfully concocted by renowned curators and talented gallerists.
Art fairs devoted to the African arts scene (1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair which runs three times a year editions in London, New York and now Marrakech) and Akaa -Also known as Africa – ( 1st and only Art and Design fair centered on Africa which took place in Paris last week for a remarkable 3rd edition) gradually attract art lovers and collectors from all over the world.
Finally some experts notice that bidding prices are not proposed only by contemporary african art collectors! And to remember: in auction market and without exception, the market decides the price and competition is maximized!
*Piasa auction house is based in the heart of Paris (France) and well-known through its cutting edge selections in art and design.
** Art technique first called by his founder, a contemporary Ghanaian artist, because of the recovery for a new use of the yellow plastic jerrycans that are typically used to collect and carry water in sub-saharan african countries to create tapestries and sculptures.
Marion Dupuch-Rambert, Art Advisor and Founder @ Gobetween Art Agency.
Photo above – Courtesy of the artist, Saint Etienne Yéanzi : “Tokoos 3, 2018” (Melted plastic on paper collage, 105 × 177 cm)