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Ethiopian artist breaks record with $10.7m work



Walkers With the Dawn and Morning is an abstract creation using ink and acrylic on canvas.

It was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in New York on Wednesday evening, which saw two bidders competing for the piece with the price gradually edging higher and higher.

It sold for $9.5m, but the final cost, once fees are added, took it to the record-breaking sum of $10.7m.

Mehretu, in fact, held the previous record of $9.3m, which was set last month.

Walkers With the Dawn and Morning combines “all aspects of her inimitable style of mark making, including architectural drawing, brightly coloured vectors, and calligraphic sweeps”, Sotheby’s said.

The sale of the work is indicative of the strong interest in contemporary African art, which is now seeing a growing market for abstract work.

“We are moving beyond that initial phase to something more discerning”, Hannah O’Leary, head of Sotheby’s modern and contemporary African art department told the Art Newspaper last month.

Mehretu was born in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in 1970, but moved with her family to the US in 1977 at a time of political strife.

She has become one of the most prominent names in the fast-growing contemporary African art world. Earlier this year she was chosen to create BMW’s next Art Car.

Her work will be painted onto a BMW car that will be part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race next year.



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