Art in the Diaspora

Jadé Fadojutimi Sells for $1.94 million at the Phillips Sale in New York

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Jadé Fadojutimi is a British abstract painter of Nigerian heritage. In 2021, Gagosian, the world’s largest gallery, took Fadojutimi as one of their artists. To date she has been one of the most closely watched abstractionists. In 2022 she appeared in Venice Biennale.

At this year’s Phillips sale of 20th century and contemporary art that took place on the 7th of November in New York, Fadojutimi’s painting titled Quirk my mannerism, set a new record for the young London-based artist. After more than five minutes’ bidding, the lot closed with a hammer price of $1.55 million ($1.94 million with fees), smashing the $600,000–$800,000 estimate. At the London auctions in October 2021, Fadojutimi set two auction records at Sotheby’s and Phillips on consecutive days. In a Sotheby’s day sale, her painting A Muddled Mind That’s Never Confined, made earlier that year, sold for to £1 million ($1.4 million); the following day, her 2017 painting Myths of Pleasure sold at Phillips for £1.2 million ($1.6 million), or about 15 times its pre-sale estimate of £80,000.

A Black woman with box braids who is wearing a black crewneck sweater and light jeans sits in a red chair. Her head rests on her first and at left is a stuffed panda. Behind her is an abstract painting.

Fadojutimi’s first presentation with Gagosian was an installation of new works at the gallery’s Frieze London booth in October 2021. Fadojutimi is best-known for her large-scale abstractions in which colors, shapes, and lines butt up against each other, commingling in vibrant and dazzling ways. These works draw on a vast array of influences, from 20th-century painting to Japanese anime to music. Fadojutimi says that the three main ways to describe her work are “Human. Animal. Natural.” Her work depicts the souls of the above as well as the souls of objects too. Over the past few years, her work has been in high demand, both on the primary and secondary markets.

Fadojutimi’s works have also been acquired by major institutions. Tate in London purchased her 2018 canvas I Present Your Royal Highness, making her the youngest artist in the British institution’s collection at the time of purchase. Her work is also held by the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Jadé Fadojutimi, Quirk my mannerism, 2021. Image courtesy of Phillips and the artist.

Lelethu Sobekwa was born in Gqeberha, South Africa. She holds a BA Honours in English and an MA in Creative Writing with distinction from Rhodes University. Lelethu currently writes for Art News Africa.

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