8 artists who had highlights at the October auctions
Also at the Phillips Day Sale, one of Ghana’s new artists (following in the footsteps of and) took the market by storm. The first auction appearance for a work by 32-year-old Isshaq Ismail was in August 2020 at an online-only auction at Christie’s called “Say it Loud” and hosted by gallery owner Destinee Ross-Sutton, who had discovered his work on Instagram. There his work Nonchalant 2 (Nana Kwesi Wiafe) (2020) sold for $ 110,000 against a high estimate of $ 15,000.
Probably because of this – and the 100% sale rate of his work in Ross-Sutton’s ‘Black Voices’ exhibition, which opened in December 2020 – three examples have appeared in London neatly distributed, one each. , at Phillips, Sotheby’s and Christie’s. They were overcome by the first offer, in Phillips’ Day Sale: the five foot tall Nkabom 1 (2019), featuring two mask-shaped heads with heart-shaped mouths in bright primary colors, which arrived with a pre-sale estimate of £ 10,000 to £ 15,000 ($ 13,000 to $ 20,000 ). Originally purchased from the artist by a private collection in Los Angeles and sold to the auction sender, competition for the work between online bidders in London and Florida pushed the price up to £ 138,600 ( $ 189,000), setting the tone for the next two. During the sale of the day online only at Sotheby’s, the smallest Blue face III (2019) sold for £ 88,200 ($ 120,000) out of a high estimate of £ 8,000 ($ 11,000). Meanwhile, at Christie’s ‘First Open’ sale the following week, another example of Ismail, Epoch I (2018), estimated to be between £ 10,000 and £ 15,000 ($ 13,000 – $ 20,000), sold for £ 118,750 ($ 163,000) – a slightly reduced multiple of the estimate, Ross-Sutton said, because it was an earlier work, before he found his current style. The artist described his later style as comprising “grotesque images and surfaces… with flat backgrounds”.