The most famous artist of Nigerian modern art is Ben Envonvu (1917-1994). It was the one who in 1974 painted the portrait of Tutu, which is called African Mona Lisa.
With the painting beauty of Leonardo da Vinci, he unites his story of a sudden disappearance and after several years of discovery.
Tales of glorious lost portraits
The adored Mona Lisa was stolen from Paris Louvre in 1911. France was in shock. But former museum worker Vincenzo Perugia was convinced that the painting belonged to Italy, since, like Leonardo da Vinci, he was also an Italian. He escaped with him in his native land and hid a picture at home. He was fatal when offered Moni Lizzie an Italian trader who called the police. The painting returned to Luvre in early 1914.
While Vinci's muse was an unknown girl, Ben Envonvu showed Adetoum Ademiluia, the grandson of the ruler of the ethnic group Yorub. Ben grabbed the beauty and long neck of Adetou, and in the end convinced him that he was painting. Today, Tutu in Nigeria is a symbol of the nation's reconciliation after the end of the Civil War, which took place between 1967 and 1970 and was a war between Nigeria and the Republic of Biafra.
The Tutu portrait was presented to the public at an exhibition in Lagos, the largest city of Nigeria in 1975. It looked like the country was gone after that. Nobody knew where he was. By February of this year, thousands of miles from her house – north of London.
Jump in Nigeria
Image owners, who wanted to remain anonymous, addressed Giles Peppiatta, a contemporary and contemporary African expert from the London auction house Bonhams, to review their art collection. He discovered the lost portrait of Envon between the pictures.
"I certainly did not expect to meet such a jewel, but as Tutu arrived in London, but it's a secret," Giles Peppiatt said.
The picture was owned by a father of a family who no longer lives. The survivors knew that his father had a job with Nigeria. Most in the country traveled in the middle and late seventies of the last century.
In the end, the family decided to sell the picture. The auction was attended by $ 1.57 million (over 35 million kunas) to anonymous bidders. The portrait of Tutu became the most valuable piece of Nigerian modern art that was on sale.
The latest owner of Tutua decided to share a gem with the audience, who was able to visit Lagos in early November at the Art Art Fair in Lagos.