Coronavirus Forces Sotheby’s African Art Auction Online
While the world is at a standstill, so then is the art community. The large auction of Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary African Art Collection that was scheduled to be held in London, on Wednesday afternoon, will now take place solely online due to the COVID-19 Outbreak. To the dismay of the many collectors exhibited in this sale, Sotheby’s London braces for those that might miss the drama of a live auction. As many of the British and International art community members take heed of the rules set in place by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stay home and thus take into consideration the extreme economical circumstances that we find the world in due to COVID-19.
As the Prime Minister announced the banning of people leaving their homes on Monday Evening, Sotheby’s reacted quickly canceling the live auction on March 25th and thus offering the collection online through-out the dates of March 27-31.
This is the fifth event showcased by Sotheby’s, after the debut of the under-appreciated category of Modern and Contemporary African Art in 2017. This online auction will showcase over 100 lots, spanning over 100 years, and representing 21 countries from across the African continent. Including such revered artists as South African Irma Stern, of whom, her work called “Grape Packer” will debut as the online auction’s most valuable piece, with a pre-sale estimate of $420,000-$650,000. Irma Stern’s auction record precedes more than $5 million, thus placing her in the top 20 female artists of the world.
The live auction will also offer two other of Stern’s well-known works, as well as paintings by the early Nigerian master artist, Ben Enwonwu. One of which is named “Sefi”, also known as the famous “Nigerian Princess”. This lot has en estimated pre-sale value of between $300,000-400,000.
Hopefully, with all of the prestigious artists that will be featured in this live auction Sotheby’s Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, set to premiere solely online because of the COVID-19 virus, will prevail financially against the odds.