The iconic portrait of a royal princess of Ife, Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu, has sold for N508, 358, 301, at a London auction.
The painting was said to have been ranked with the Mona Lisa painting by arts collectors and considered to have achieved a high level of celebrity as it was some of the most enigmatic works produced by a Nigerian artist in the 20th century.
There were other Ben Enwonwu’s paintings sold alongside Tutu, but none fetched as much as Tutu and the identity of the buyer is yet to be known.
In 1971, Enwonwu was appointed the first professor of Fine Art at the University of Ife. It was during this period that the artist created a number of his most famous works including three portraits of Tutu –a young Yoruba woman named Adetutu Ademiluyi, a granddaughter of a previous Ooni (king) of Ife.
During one of his visits to Ife’s countryside, he came across Tutu. Amazed by her beauty and unusual features, he asked her parents for permission to paint her.
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