The names behind these record breaking artworks are the new royalty of the art world. Read about the most expensive Nigerian paintings auctioned in recent times.

1. Bush babies - N1.2 billion

Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s 2017 piece valued at $3.4 million is her highest selling artwork. Its called Bush babies
Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s 2017 piece valued at $3.4 million is her highest selling artwork. Its called Bush babies

In this list, Nigerian-born painter Njideka Akunyili Crosby, daughter of the late Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili leads with the most number of paintings. In September of this year, her painting, Bush Babies, was acquired at a record-breaking $3.4 million at Sotheby’s art house in New York, making it the most expensive Nigerian art sold at an auction.

Sotheby's described Akunyili Crosby as "the most valuable Nigerian artist ever and one of the most valuable female artists of all time".

2. The Beautyful Ones - N1.1 billion

This mixed media painting is another gem from Njideka Akunyili Crosby, depicting the artist's older sister. The painting sold for $3,075,774 at Christie’s London in 2017. Akunyili Crosby made The Beautyful Ones in 2012 during her residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and has turned it into a series of paintings.

3. Tutu - N508 million

Adetutu Ademiluyi: The woman behind the N508m painting
Adetutu Ademiluyi: The woman behind the N508m painting

In 1973, veteran contemporary artist Late Ben Enwonwu created a Nigerian masterpiece, Tutu, which is ranked on the same level as the Mona Lisa by art collectors. In March 2018, the 1974 portrait broke previous records, selling for $1.68 million at Bonhams.

ALSO READ: The woman behind the N508m painting 'Tutu'

4. Drown - N400.8 million

Drown by Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Drown by Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Drown is another masterpiece from Njideka Akunyili Crosby. In usual fashion, it is a beautiful picture that draws on the life of the artist — this time a portrait of the artist and her husband — made up of a collage that tells the political history of Nigeria. Drown sold for $1,092,500 at Sotheby's New York in 2016.