Titled Hausa Man, what has been described as a "rare and remarkable" work by Yusuf Grillo was discovered in a London flat where it was being used to block a fire place, Bonhams auction house claims.
|Hausa Man by Yusuf Grillo|
The auction house, in a press release states that the painting is to be sold at Bonhams African Now – Modern Africa sale in London, next year, for an estimated 15 million Naira (£50,000).
The rescue: “I was carrying out a routine valuation in London when I spotted the painting. It was standing in front of a disused fire place to make the space look more attractive,” Bonhams’ Director of African Art, Giles Peppiatt explains. “Most Londoners now use central heating or electric fires as these old grates can look unsightly. I was astonished to see this painting being used for such a purpose, as were the owners when they were informed what it was and what it was worth!”
The oil painting “Hausa Man” dates from 1964, when the artist was working at the peak of his artistic powers and features the use of the colour blue which has been such a important aspect of his work. Yusuf Grillo is the most prominent of the Zaria Art Society, a group of artists founded in the late 1950s who sought to explore new techniques and ideas. He was also the head of art at the Yaba College of Technology.
These works from the mid 1960s are his most prized and it will be offered at the next Bonhams “Africa Now – Modern Africa” sale in London where Nigerian collectors from around the world will all be eagerly competing to try and secure the work.