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THE LAGOS ART MARKET: A STUDY OF ARTHOUSE CONTEMPORARY LIMITED, LAGOS NIGERIA

ABSTRACT This research is a study of ArtHouse Contemporary Limited. The researcher began with an introduction of the art market, reviewing extensive literature that has been documented on collection and patronage, with an aim of putting in plain words; what is collection? What is patronage? The relationship between collection and patronage, and how it translates to an art market. The ensuing research made known the transition in the art market, the growth in the art industries and the advantages auction houses have over galleries. Key word: Art sales, Patronage and the art market. CHAPTER 1 The art market is a very broad topic; especially when viewing it from the stand point of patronage of different genre of art in a city like Lagos, Nigeria. Some art market activities include the following; production, criticism, promotion, commission and art sales of miniatures, performing art, cowboy art, abstraction, portraits, illustration art, installation and landscape painting which among other genres are categorized within the Lagos art world. On the other hand, the art market is also an activity that is composed of all the people involved in the production, commission, preservation, promotion, criticism, and art sale. The art market, in relation to an art world exists at local or regional levels, and may operate as hidden or obscure plane via primary and secondary markets such as gallery circuits, design movements, and more esoterically as shared or perceived experiences. Some activities of the art world have transmuted to collections and art patronage through art exhibitions, art fares, and art auction from emerging and renowned artists. A focus on the art market phenomenon has only become possible in contemporary times since the social transition which enthroned modernism in the art sector. Years ago, the earliest forms of art patronage where mainly from religious folks and Kings. Louis Proyect (2008) opines that art only began to become a commodity in the mid-19th century when artists became freed from feudal ties when artists began to emancipate themselves from feudal dependence, allowing the emergence of a new bourgeois. Before the Mid-19th century art was non-reproducible, there had to be wealthy backer to support the effort of the artist. This form of patronage also translated to the notion of patrons of art as a result of their support, encouragement, privilege or financial aid that they grant individual artists. During this period, painters were much more of a throwback to the age of feudalism as they had to rely on the ruling class for patronage which can be categorized as the first form of art patronage whereby one-of-a-kind works of art, deals with the exigencies of the marketplace and fetishism of commodities. The ArtHouse Contemporary Limited, can be taken as a repository of the art market in Lagos, Nigeria. It operates in an economic model which considers demand and supply where art is bought, not just for its perceived cultural value, but also for its predicted future value. Thus valuing an art work in such an art market, takes into account several factors, such as; the supply and demand that affects the secondary market, and the existing work of art, sold in the primary market. ArtHouse Contemporary Limited, started in 2007, specializing in African art and has structured seven successful art auctions that have recorded huge sales of African art works since its operation as an art auction house. Though there are several other art auction houses in Lagos State, Nigeria. However, because of the upshot, recorded in art auctions organized by ArtHouse accessible on their web pagewww.arthouse-ng.com, which provides information on their activities and end results of their art auction, since they started operation officially, the researcher considered ArtHouse Contemporary appropriate for this research. Moreover art has garnered noteworthy awareness from observers, art patrons and potential buyers which can be considered to enjoy national spread in the global community. Lagos is a predictive market and valuing a predictive art market is very difficult and tentative, because art valuation relies on a great extent on advice and enthusiasm and input from private collectors, curators, art auctioneers, art historians, specialized market analysts etc. There is no gainsaying that the art market in Nigeria, is becoming obvious and viable, and if this

development is not documented It may be difficult to keep track of its development through time, as well as making known its potentials and values, especially for old and emerging artists. Significantly, Yemisi Shyllon (2011) once said: From the available statistics, the percentage of graduates of visual art that exclusively practice art after school is very discouraging: Large percentage of artists that I have known for some years, are abandoning the profession. Yet there is an art market that old and emerging artists can identify with. A seeming snag is that this market has not become an object of research in order to investigate how it operates. This focus, more than ever before has become pertinent to the course of art history in Nigeria. Art as a human engagement is a reposition of values, where money and patronage are as important determinants in any effort made to understand these contending values in culture. This is essentially why it has become pertinent to investigate The ArtHouse Contemporary. As an art auction outfit which incorporates the essential values that define an art market. THE OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY This research aims to document the activities of the Art House Contemporary Limited Lagos, Nigeria and the activities associated with an art market, symbolized in an auction house through its art fairs and exhibitions that reinforces the value of the work of art as commodity. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK The theoretical framework in this project is Marxist philosophy of art as defined in The Capital by Karl Max and Walter Benjamins (1936) The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Benjamins work is a further commentary on Marxist philosophy of art. In The Capital we encounter the definition of the work of art as commodity. This is what permits a value that is monetized on it. METHOD This research employs the virtual environment for information in the first instance, along with library research and interviews with stakeholders in the art market industry and some artists whose works have been auctioned at one time or the other. The approach to reporting this work is descriptive and in alignment with qualitative approach to research engagement. Qualitative research and analysis is subjective in its approach relying on non-quantifiable information, such as management expertise, industry cycles strength of research and development and labour relations. This type of analysis is different from quantitative analysis which focuses on numbers and hypothetical assumptions. However, instances of qualitative approach incorporating quantitative methods abound in art history. In this work we shall be limited to qualitative research method. SCOPE OF THE STUDY AND LIMITATION This research documents the activities of The ArtHouse Contemporary Limited, a Lagos-based auction house, which is an aspect of the art market in Lagos State. Supplementary interviews have been taken also to offer a broad opinion on the emerging art market in Lagos, Nigeria. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY This study hopes to enlighten individuals, cooperate bodies, government and so on, on the investment value of art beyond art as an aesthetic operative. The work also serves as a written documentation on the viability of the art market as understood within the operations of the art auction houses, and also a reference point for other literature or oral reviews in the future. It is anticipated to open the benefits of organized art markets that will allow maximum exploration and exploitation.

CHAPTER 2 This chapter reviews literature and related engagements on some conceptual framework associated with the art market. Therefore, issues and topics such as patronage and how they define the art market will be focused upon. WHAT IS COLLECTION?

Jon Huer (1990), opines that in a world where real and universal co-exist side by side, where mystery only increases its market price, what passes for art and sold into famous collections is often nothing more than a canv as suitably framed, displayed and hyped as art. On the other hand, Kwane Opoku (2008), holds a similar opinion that art collection is a unique illustration agency by creative industry professionals who have years of art buying experience across a multitude of creative industries. The advocacy skill of hyping art by unique illustrative agency increases its market value and price because hype is a reality and a passion by some individuals done for specific reasons. And these reasons are diverse. John Berger (2003) declares that publicity-hype is always for the future buyer that it has grasped implications of the relationship between the work of art and its spectator-owner and with this it tries to persuade and flatter the spectator-buyer. This process of patronage involves, the product (the art work), pricing, promotion, which entails; publicity and public relation (Ekpo Udoma, 2010). At a distance, any hype as art, without public relation, may deny the work of art values that may not reposition it for a collection. Hype in the business of art is good, but we must understand that hype and public relation, are intertwined and they are intended to establish balance in the business of art for the consumers in the art market. When Kathry Wysocki, (2011) reported on art and collections from 1897-1950, when the Benin Bronze plaques seized by the British in 1897 reached the market in Europe the following year (1898), the largest institutional buyers were ethnographer museums the Benin works were sold to American art institutions in the 1930s because of the recognition of these objects as art by late 19th century German buyers. In other words, it was the hype as art and public relation that influenced their intuitive appeal by the late 19th century German buyers of bronze plaques and by the America art institution. But if they hyped it, and refused to employ public relation, collection may not have been possible at that time. From the above it is obvious that hype influences collection, but in the book titled The Business of Being an Artist, Daniel Grant (2010) says that there are niches for every type of artist and specific market for all varieties of art. For example, Pablo Picasso may be widely known and acclaimed more than some artists in the past century, but just a small fraction of artist show interest in what he created. Other fractions of the market exist for miniatures, performing art, cowboy art, abstraction, portraits, illustration art, installation and landscape painting (Grant Ibid). From another instance Kwane Opoku (2008) views art collection as an art buying experience that establishes the idea in our mind that collection is a process and not a one day activity. On the other hand Daniel Grant highlights how a small fraction of the market grants patronage to works of art created by the masters and other fraction patronizes other art genre. Osa Egonwa (2004) is of a coincided view that art collectors are individuals who, having weighed various competing priorities, collect works of art in preference to other compelling needs of life. Thus, art collection can be defined as the process of art buying of different genres of art according to their intuitive appeal for a variety of purposes or ends, which may be accounted for in taste, trendiness and commercial value. However some of these ends can be influenced depending on the context of an encounter between a collector and art merchandise. As Grant (Ibid), further holds forth, the status of an artist is an influential factor in the selling of an art work. For example an undecided collector who is on the fence may request thus; let me read something about the artist if you showed such a collector a blank sheet of paper, that collector may not buy the work (art) of that artist. But if you showed to such a collector, that the artist has won awards and prizes-that the artist has credibility in someones eyes-nine times out of ten that collector is going to buy the work (art). The only time that kind of information doesnt matter, according to Gr ant, is when the collector or patron falls in love with the work art and doesnt care who the artist is. Lisa Harris (2010) notes that when an artist is just starting out in his career, listing prizes and awards helps affirm the collectors feelings about the artist. But Janelle Reiring (2010) holds a contrary view concerning the artist winning an award as she states that, (it makes the artist feel good, but it doesnt make any difference to me or the collector I deal withour collectors are more concerned with what critics and what museum curators think, but not all is concerned with what prizes or awards the artist may have won). But other collectors have taken different views, according to Benjamin Mangel (2010), the proprietor of Mangel Gallery in Phil adelphia who thinks that: They are especially beneficial to an emerging artist, who may have little to show. Futhermore Mangel noted that he has collectors who need to see that the artists have credibility and it helps when I can talk about the artists scholarship, awards, prizes But Donald Russell (2010) says that; a number of art dealers who otherwise claim that the fact of an artist wins a prize is of no importance to them, but maintains that their interest is piqued by artists who have received a Guggenheim fellowship for instance, a grant of fellowship form national endowment for

the art carries some weight to me. From the above, it is obvious that those who collect art are those who appreciate art. While some art patrons or collectors give preference to the artists establishment, although others consider the intuitive appeal of the work of art. In other words, it is appropriate to conclude that that there are different types of collectors; collectors who give preference to the artist establishment before collection; and the second are those who place value on the intuitive appeal of the work of art. ART PATRONAGE Art patronage as defined by Wikipedia as the support encouragement, privilege or financial aid that an organization or an individual provides for artist. Abdurrahman Madu Steiner, (1985) remarks that patronage was extended to artist by kings and members of the royal families nobles and merchants, and religious priest. Larry (2003) remarks that in the old system of the art form in the art market; patronage was determined by nobles. But in the history of patronage according to Wikipedia, the earliest form of art patronage began with Christian folks to accumulate wealth and status. For example, the Catholic Church continues to make use of art-sculptures, paintings and textiles, in its liturgical worship. This practice and the acculturation and indigenization polices of the church ensure that artist religious inclinations (Aderonke, 2010). On the other hand in traditional Yoruba society, according to Adepegba (2009) rulers with cultivated taste would normally want great splendor, which might involve embellishment with artistic work; which translates top different forms of art patronage. The patronage pattern above shows that art patrons or clients, more often than not, commissioned paintings or compositions for particular places or contexts often prescribing subject matter, size, form, materials, or instrumentation. For example, Oba Aganju, an early Alaafin of Oyo reputed for his high taste as exemplified in his palace in Old Oyo embellished with brazen post (Adepegba; Ibid). Specifically, the Yoruba community in Nigeria, ran through the old system of patronage, while artist made their pieces in response to demand of royal patrons. Paula Ben-Amos has also reported the same type of patronage in the Royal Court of ancient Benin Kingdom. With modernization and contemporary realities where African artists have increasingly followed the trend it imbibed with colonization patronage which took diverse forms. In this day and age art is no longer limited to the royal class, as it was in the past, although the royal class has continued to sponsor artistic productions. But the nouveaux riches that now abound in modern capitalist society appear to take the lead in the new type of patronage that is hinged on the commodity value of the work of art. MOTIVATION BEHIND PATRONAGE In the sixtieth century, the most significant and active patron was Pope-Julius II (Wikipedia, Feb.2007) Pope Julius motivation towards art, was said to be of selfish, as a view by some commentators who hold strongly to the opinion that he had a desire to leave his mark in the catholic church. Some others have also argued that he patronized art to display the wealth of the church at that time. Today, art patronage has not changed among religious groups. Steiner (1985) opines that the principal motive of patronage in ecclesiastical circles is to acquire spiritual merit by commissioning an icon. Similarly in the Bible, God is a divine patron; He commissioned the Israelites to create certain forms of art In Exodus 25-30, where God commissioned the creation of the tabernacle and all of the elements within it. But Jon Huer (1990) provides the non ecclesiastical view on the motivation behind patronage. He is of the opinion that art patronage is the wealthy mans way of displaying what money can do and the final triumph of money over art as he puts the painting in his vaults and locks it. One of the major collectors in Nigeria Yemisi Shyll on (June 11, 2011) says that he is motivated to encourage creativity, production of aesthetic value, historical development and heritage of our people which is the whole essence of life through buying works of art. Furthermore he buys art to have works of art that we can enjoy repeatedly until we leave the earth. In other words, what drives patronage from the above are the following: selfish motive, the pleasure of it, to display wealth, and to acquire spiritual merit. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COLLECTION AND PATRONAGE If mankind thought of love as its most cherished emotion and it could be somehow collected with money, the collector would have lost no time collecting and possessing mankinds most treasured love-emotions into private collection (Huer, 1990).

From the above within the context of collecting and how it relates to patronage the disposition exemplified by art collectors is the attitude of collecting works of art with money, which is a kind of patronage they can provide for the artist.

HOW COLLECTIONS AND PATRONAGE TRANSLATES TO ART MARKET Peranil et Wolff (1999) opines that art patrons integrate the patronage process into a broad range of roles associated with the social, economic and religious life. Although writers, painters and musicians, experienced the transition from the patronage to the market system at different rates from country to country (Larry, 2003) transition as Larry points out, establishes how patronage has transmuted to different rates of market system that took place in different countries. Larry classifies these different rates of market system as; the old and new form of art market. In the old form of art market, art patrons, clients normally commissioned works of art, prescribe subject matter, size, form, materials or instrumentation. Where the value placed on the work of art, is determined by the materials, difficulty and time along with the reputation of the workshop or master or the function the piece was to serve. Simply put, what determines the value of art work in this system is; the name involved duration, location and functionality. But in the new form of art market, art works produced under this market system is valued as the expression of a personality and the receiver is buying, not only a self contained work but also the producers imagination and creativity expressed as reputation (Larry, ibid ). We have great artists but how do we translate them from great artist into a commercially viable economic and sustainable industry? It was not too long ago that art was just those who love paintings and pictures where collected on a very casual note. (Lawal, 2007). From the above; the Old form of art market and the new form of art market contribute to the production of art works by artist, sales of art works to clients and patrons, commissions from clients and patrons etc all typify collection and patronage which transmutes to an art market. Today, both the old system art patronage is still operating at different levels. Andy Warhol presents the idea of the business of art in a succinct context and acknowledges that the recognition that art has become a business and making money in business is an art Andy Warhols idea of the business of art exemplifies collection and patronage which characterizes the art market in the contemporary era. HOW DO ART MARKETS OPERATE Christopher Burghers (1988) discloses that many of the traders in the market place began as apprentices to their fathers, uncles or some other male relative. Most of the stallholders seem to conceptualize art, trading art as a lifelong full time, permanent career. In 1988, Tijjani an art patron said he bargained for a piece of art work and agreed to pay the owner 40,000 (FA above $38 in 1988) he left a deposit of 10,000 FA and brought the art piece to show his uncle. His uncle looked at the object and told him he made a big error, that the piece was recent and that it was not worth anywhere near the price he had agreed to pay for. Like Jon Huer (1990) would say, the work was hyped! From Tijjanis experience, the hype about the work of art he purchased informed his patronage. In other words, for him, the art market operates in hype. Jon Huer (1990) says that in all the workings of the collectors mind that, he is buying a work of art is entirely secondary, a fact only marginally alive in his sub-consciousness, is that anything recommended by experts, is talked about in the media is popular to the public, will do for his collection because the hype adds prestige to their image. Not because there is something so fantastic about it; but the hype. Another way the art market operates according to Evelyn Payne (1999) is that patronage is characterized by added prestige to patrons. Payne remarks that many buyers of African art do not want contemporary African art that communicates the agonies of colonialism nor the current problems of adapting to modern world. Patrons tastes have been shaped by cultural and aesthetic values, which play a key role in their control of the meaning of art forms in a socio-cultural context (Perani, Wolff, 1999). Larry (2003) opines that historians have often described the transition from the old system of art to the new system of fine art as liberation. In the old system patrons are in a superior position than the ar tist and artisan. Since in the old system of patronage, artists and patrons were not on equal footing with their patron, but the new system of patronage granted artists equal footing with patrons which is why art historians describe this transition as liberation.

CHAPTER 3 INTRODUCTION This chapter evaluates Marxist aesthetics in relation to the art object as commodity; Karl Max in the Capital; 1939 defined the notion of commodity in relation to the work of art. Access to this text is from a secondary source in the work of Louis Proyect, titled The Unrepentant Marxist: Art as commodity. Walter Benjamin in, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, is a commentary on Karl Marx The Capital. Both texts will be reviewed here to provide insight for a theoretical foundation for this work. AN EVALUATION OF MARXIST THE CAPITAL In the article The Unrepentant Marxist: Art as a commodity Louis Proyect, reports that art only began to become a commodity in the mid-19th century, when artist began to be freed from their feudal ties. Before the mid-19th century, the genre of patronage that existed in the art market was typified by Churches and Kings during the medieval age before the advent of the bourgeois. In other words, the advent the bourgeois established an equal footing between artist and patrons. But lets keep in mind that patronage has always being present prior to the emergence of the bourgeois. Their (bourgeois) arrival brought about a transmutation that ensued in the art market system. A commodity according to Marxist interpretation is in the first place an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfy human wants of some sort or another. In other words, the work of art is a product of human thought and labour made real in an objectified form. It is appropriate to say that art is a commodity, because it is a creation of the artist and meant for the aesthetic enjoyment of the art public. When treating use value, as Proyect notes, we always assume we are dealing with definite quantities, such as dozens of watches, yards, of linen, or tons of iron. But on the other hand, the use values of commodities furnish the material for a special study, which is that of the commercial knowledge of commodities which become a reality only by use or by consumption. The utility of a thing (art) makes its use value because art works typify knowledge that exemplifies cultural symbol and possesses creative content and by consumption a thing constitutes a substance for wealth or social form of wealth that transmutes to exchange value as Proyect states. However, art objects are not exchangeable; one for the other, just as other commodities since in the economics of art, art is based on scarcity of unique objects such that art works exemplifies intellectual depth, creative content, and possesses cultural symbols. The term commodity is only a metaphor for theatrical use. Commodities show value that transmutes into currency only by circulation in the market place because the art market exists to convert intangibles into fungible value. Some People think that, the value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of labour spent on it, the idler and unskillful the labourer, the more valuable would his commodity be, because time will be required in its production. This approach can be more suitable when all attention is focused on the quality of the finished product and skills that is required to produce it, which most times influence the value of a commodity. However, from a dual perspective, that is; the aesthetic value and monetary value of a commodity is what determines the value of a an art work this is between the market purchasers and sellers, who prices an art work within the frame of the establishment of the art market, and to exhibit such works in more venues. And public venues have been known to gradually increase the value of an art work as a commodity. In a nutshell what makes for value for art as commodities are; the monetary value, simply put the records of past sales history, the current value of comparable markets. (For examples the sales history of other artist, whose medium, body of work, exhibition history, gallery representation, or career stage are similar to work of art that has being created can be used to determine the value) and the market value. What makes a commodity valuable are based on these factors above, which are very important in establishing a cultural value in the art market and not the amount of labour as cited by Proyect. Thus, it is in-appropriate to say that the total labour of a society is necessary for production to make an art work of valuable as a commodity. However, the relationship between a commodity and money can be understood from a dual perspective, firstly; as the sum of works circulating in the art market and the developments that took place in the art market such as the transmutation in the mid-19th century when artist was gradually freed from their feudal ties. And secondly; by creating works of art that dominates wider taste, via art exhibition for a wider audience, as object first outside us, which satisfies human wants for aesthetic enjoyment and for

utilitarian purpose which typifies a visual idea that addresses or announces a challenge in the society or history recorded in time. Beyond the positions above George Kubler in The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things (1962) states that, art is not just for art sake, but also for life sake. Because art is emotional, it educates us about life, and establishes an understanding of intellectual social realities of life to us. On these grounds the commoditization theory put forward by Proyect adequately locates the contemporary beginnings of the enthronement of the work of art as commodity. However, the ground on which the theory is hinged can make the work of art appear as mere commodity which is why it is important to take heed to the values that Kubler calls to attention. AN EVALUATION OF THE WORK OF ART IN THE AGE OF MECHANICAL PRODUCTION The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production has become a typical way for any attempts to evaluate political and artistic developments under capitalism. The central question of this book written by Walter Benjamin is how do we see art and how do we mull over art?, now that we have been exposed to reproduction. This book will be viewed in a dual perspective to understand the notion of reproduction in art as it relates to the art market context. Work of art as Benjamin makes known has always being reproducible. Man-made artifacts could always be imitated by men. Similarly, nothing created by man is new under the sky because mans creation is an imitation of what the Supreme had already created here on earth. However an art work is an image which the eyes has recreated or reproduced in the human memory. Centuries ago, the Greeks only knew two procedures of technically reproducing works of art: founding and stamping, so that their creation can be produced in quantities to satisfy a larger audience. During the 18th century the procedure of technically producing works of art as employed by the Greeks was not possible for all their artistic creation because some of their creation were unique and could not be mechanically reproduced. However, at the beginning of the 19th century, lithography made its appearance. With lithography the technique of reproduction reached an essentially new stage. Lithography enabled graphic art to illustrate everyday life, and it began to keep pace with printing. Before lithography emerged, art could only exist as one that was why the syst em of art patronage at that time, was dominated by Churches and the Royalty. Thus the pace of printing helped art works to reach out to the larger society generally. Reading Benjamin further, the Invention of the mechanical way of reproducing art revolutionized the way in which men perceived paintings; paintings done before the rise of the mechanical way of reproducing work of art. Before now, painting has a unique place where it resides for aesthetic pleasure. But the introduction of the camera for example, ruined the uniqueness of a painting to an extent which made it possible for an art work to be viewed by different people of different races at once from different ethnosystems. The disadvantage the camera brings to us is the possibility it creates for an art work to be used by anybody, which makes artist loose his/her, internal control of their creation. But on the other hand the mechanized way of reproducing an art, gave rise to publicity to the work of art since publicity is a tool that shapes our taste, publicity works on our anxiety to constitute the market for the future buyer of work of art. From the above, an art work reproduces itself and still retains its value. It is appropriate to say that such an art work is good. For example, Mona Lisa a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, which has being reprinted on different occasions for diverse reasons, but has not devalued. Benjamin has rightly argued that art works receive value on different planes. Viewing this statement from the aura of original and the reproduced art work, the feeling is always different. The original is always a reference point for other images, the meaning of the original image is always distorted according to what one sees immediately beside it or what comes immediately after it. Thus the interpretation gotten from the original or reproduced art work gives rise to the value of the work of art as experienced by the spectator. In the past, art was seen as cult; to be viewed and never touched, but the notion of reproduction dismissed this notion as art started to function within the profane rather than sacred aura. Benjamin also notes that replicating an art work many times over substitutes mans existence for a unique experience. The idea of The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production is a view from more than one point. However, if art remained as a cult, it will be inaccessible. But for art to be accessible it has to be made profane, so that art can be valued from multiple planes; as original and as a reproduction. Thus, authenticity and reproduction highlights art into a commodity during the stretch of time when the bourgeois were ushered in the mid-19th century.

The mechanical reproduction of art is an intellectual approach so that art can be patronized by everybody. Nevertheless Benjamin understood the fact that art functioned as a cult within ritual relics due to distance that was created. The conception of the mechanical reproduction of art brought relic objects and sacred object into visual reach for the viewer. Simply put the idea of reproduction is somewhat new. Without reproduction, art would have remained scared and would not have improved the system of the art market. Art would have been pure passion and huge luxury for the middle class. For the middle class will mull over how to care about their immediate needs, such as clothing, shelter and feeding. But the advent of the mechanical way of reproducing art encouraged the middle class appreciation beyond view to patronage. Thus the value placed on the original piece of an art work surged rapidly. That is why a Picassos work can be valued for 106.5 million Pounds, a Ben Enwonwu can sell for 8.8million Naira, a Bruce Onobrakpeya can sell for 9.2 million at art auctions, a painting by kolade Oshinowo can go for as much as 3 million Naira plus, etc. In other words, the art of mechanical production brought a transmutation in the system of art patronage as Benjamin submits. In concluding this chapter two points stand out from the texts reviewed. The theoretical positions that have been reviewed in this chapter establish the social and technological factors that have elevated art first to the status of commodity; and second, the appreciation of the work of art at a profane level. Both conditions are responsible in modern culture for the new social status the work of art has acquired. CHAPTER 4 Introduction The commoditization value of the work of art has seen to the evolution of art market related institutions in Nigeria. One repository of such institution is the ArtHouse Contemporary Limited situated in Lagos. It operates as an artistic documentation centre and as an auction house. In this research, several enquiries on how this institution operates within the framework of the art market are focused upon. A General Overview of Art Auction Auction is not as old as art works; the concept of art auction has existed since the 17the century where genuine masterpieces have passed the hands of curators, art historians and art critics which have enhanced the prices of art pieces that are timeless. The aphorism which says that age is gold has encouraged art appreciation and collectables from generation of art patrons and collectors which is now transmuted to art auction. In the past the connoisseur bided out of passion to possess works of art. Currently, art auctions have become business deals for art dealers, investors and artists. The higher the bid for a lot, the higher the stake of a timeless art, however art auction is the sales of art works or different genre of art works based on their value and perceived appreciation in years to come. In Nigeria today, we have the emergence of art auction houses that have heightened art collection and patronage in the art market; such as ArtHouse Contemporary Limited, Terrakulture, Tribes Art African, Nimbus and so on in Lagos state. But the Focus of this Chapter is on ArtHouse Contemporary Limited. What they do (ArtHouse) and what they (ArtHouse) address. ART HOUSE CONTEMPORARY LIMITED Art House started in 2007 and held her first art auction in 7th April, 2008; 97 lots of Modern and contemporary works of art were auctioned, 86 works of art, out of 97 were sold. The highest work of art sold during this auction, was an art work done by Bruce Onobrakpeya, titled Greater Nigeria produced in year 2007 rendered with bronze foil and ivories on plywood; valuated for N4,400,000-N5,500,000; and sold for N9,200,000 the outshot of the sales were remarkable during their earliest edition of art auction. Six months after (19th November, 2008) another art auction was organized by ArtHouse with 103 modern and contemporary lots in diverse medium from different artist dead and livingout of 103 lots. 85 works of art were sold; a painting by Yusuf Grillos titled Blue Moon (1966) made the highest sale during that auction for N8, 800,000 valuated for N7, 500,000-N8, 500,000 sold above the range of the valuation. Three months after (6th April, 2009) another auction was structured by ArtHouse with a display of 93 lots; 63 works of art were sold. The topmost was the gouache painting of Ben Enwonwu titled Purapakal (1973), valuated for N3, 500,000-N5, 000,000, but sold for N4, 500,000 within the range of the valuation. 11 months after (1 March, 2010) 106 lots of Modern and Contemporary art were auctioned ; 79 works of

art were sold, the highest sold was an oil painting done by Simon Okeke, untitled, valuated for N3,500,000-N4,500,000; sold for N4,200,000. 7 months later (22nd, November, 2010) another art auction was organized by ArtHouse, in this phase; 117 lots was auctioned, 93 were sold and the topmost was a work of art done by Demas Nwoko, titled The Wise Man, valuated for N5,000,000-N6,000,000 and sold for N9,900,000. Just after 4 months (9th May, 2011) another auction was structured characterized by different genre of art works of both Modern and contemporary art; out of 100 lots, 66 art works were sold and the highest was a bronze work by Ben Enwonwu, titled African Dance valuated for N6,000,000N7,800,000, but sold for N8,800,000. Finally in November, 21, 2011 (5 months later) 107 lots of Modern and contemporary work of art, 77 art works were sold, a bronze work, by Ben Enwonwu titled Anyanwu (1956), valuated for N20,000,000-N25, 000,000 sold for a supreme price of N30, 800,000. Lots are goods brought by an individual or set of goods offered for sale at auctions as single unit. During such art auction, a valuation is always done between an art organization and the collector. According to Wikipedia, a valuation is the process of estimating what something is worth. In so many words, an art valuation is accomplished not only for collection, investment and financial purpose, but also as a part of an insurance and loan collateral purpose. However, in every art auction, a valuation is done, to give an idea of what the item should be sold for. (Nana Sonoiki, Personal Communication, September 14, 2011). The point is that without formal auctions of this sort, it is impossible to determine the value of Modern and Contemporary Art in the global marketplace when artists involved are not those contemporary African artists who live and work in the West whose work is often used to represent Africa in the global market (S.O. Ogbechie, 2008). In other words, the art auctions organized by ArtHouse is a clever way of bringing our modern and contemporary art into the global market as measures to establish our art as a means of financial creations. Bruce Onobrakpeya, (Personal communication, September 15, 2011) notes that the emergence of art auction houses, ARESUVA, AGAN are opportunities where artists have to sell their works and even if they dont sell their art works in this venues, they receive publicity that influence the prices of their works. All these places mentioned above by Bruce Onobrakpeya, influence the prices of modern and contemporary art in Nigeria, and also heightens the exposure of our modern and contemporary art. Similarly an art enthusiast, P.K. Dasilva precisely says that when an artist attends an art auctions and observes the art valuations, such an artist will be inspired to work harder. In other words, such exposure will inspire the development of his/her creative renditions. The economics of art auction, from a dual perspective is focused mainly on; productivity of the art investment and the tactical performance of the players involved in art auctions. (Mossetto, Vecco, 2002) The productivity of art investment with reference to the upshot of seven different editions of art auctions structured by ArtHouse spotlights the advancement in art patronage. Mrs. Kavita Chelleram (April 10, 2011), proprietor of Art House Contemporary holds the opinion that; more Nigerians see art as an investment rather than entertainment. Simply because of the outcome of sales at art auctions. Similarly, Yemisi Shyllon, a major art collector in Nigeria said in an interview I had with him, that; art is an instrument of investment if one invests his/her money in art, it will always appreciate in the future. In a related context, Joe Obiago (January-April 2011), a banker by profession is of the view that art is the only asset, besides real estate, that you invest in that instantly appreciates on acquisition unlike other things people spend money on From a secondary source; I was made to understand that the person who purchased Picassos painting for one hundred and six point five million pounds bought it with the intension of investing his money on something that will appreciate in value. From the outcome of the lots in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 it is obvious that most of the art works valuated for a certain range, out classed the financial value of the valuation when you go through the records (www.arthouse-ng.com) while some of the lots were sold within the range and some sold below the range of its valuation. However that makes art investment to have lower unwarranted assumptions and a lower connection with the price trends of other assets. That is why the best quality of works purchased in an art auction, will always post higher returns on investment, when the end reult of previous art auction is viewed. The works of art by Ben Enwonwu, Ben Osawe, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kolade Oshinowo, Abiodun Olaku, Peju Alatishe, Diseye Tantua, Kelani Abass e.t.c is on the up and down swing and difficult to address. For example, some of the works brought by individuals or patrons of art for auction attracted more money than the original investment in them when they were originally purchased. Such instances support one of the notions that some collectors invest in the artwork because it is a kind of investment in terms of money that can be relied upon. In other words, there was financial rise in valuation of the art work, in one instance during the field research for this thesis, P. K. Dasilva an art enthusiast, showed me a work of art

by Lamidi Fakeye, which his father bought many years ago. The work is akin to another wood carving by Lamidi Fakeye, titled Sango (God of thunder) 1960, which was valuated for N350,000-N500,000 at the first art auction organized by ArtHouse Contemporary-April 2008, sold for N300,000 . Beyond that I saw his art collections of art works by various artists, some of which I saw were akin to some of the lots that sold for millions during the art auctions organized by ArtHouse which gives me a picture of the value of those art works and its demand in the market, which of cause will influence its valuation. This inaugurates the opinion of Yemisi Shyllon of art as an investment value. In other words, beyond aesthetics; art is not just an investment value but also an inheritance that should be acquired for generations to come because it is a money-making product. Furthermore, the tactical performance of the players involved in art auctions is a strategic behavior accepted by auctioneers and buyers in several governing framework of art auctions. Whereby they have different bidding systems, which can be changed without difficulty; the choices and stability affect prices and bids, where buyers buy a lot for aesthetic and also for investment reasons, both of which are subjective, considering that any one of the reasons above amounts to taking a chance. According to Rasheed Gbadamosi, an art collector informs that his patronage during art auctions and exhibitionis entirely his judgment. He (Gbadamosi) notes that sometimes he listens to evaluation of art critics and art historians before collection. On the other hand Frank Okontas dominant collections are mainly paintings. His reason for this choice of investment in this genre is his love for colours. Such a reason is at root aesthetic. But according to Yemisi Shyllon, he says that an art work must intuitively appeal to him before he can collect such work of art. Once in an exhibition in Lagos Bruce Onobrakpeya, purchased a wood carving that exemplifies the cultural content of the Yoruba ethnic nationality, valuated by the artist at N150,000 for N300,000. In response to the question as to what informed his patronage he narrates that he was able to identify with the struggle or the visual idea of the artist encapsulated in his rendition. Additionally, whenever he sees a work of art he can learn from, or identify with he collects such work of art. Peju Alatishe is an artist, whose work features regularly at the ArtHouse auction, she says this; my work is not for everybody, Pejus work is for people who can see themselves in Peju, it is just like someone standing in front of the mirror and sees his/ her image reflected. However, art works are like mirrors, for example there are different kind of mirrors and when we stand in front of these mirrors, our image is reflected in diverse ways depending on the kind light available to that individual, at that time; some mirror reflects an image accurately to an extent, while some falsify images. So when an art work is displayed before potential buyers, the art work that does not falsify the image of specific spectators, is the one that attracts a patron. So Alatishe seems to say! From the highlight of the interview on related issues on what informs art patronage, it is obvious that art patronage is exclusively subjective. The views expressed above remain in tandem with the subjective foregrounding of aesthetics as a human engagement The art auction method is based on overpayment preferences which is a form of the winners curse. According to Mossetto, Gian Franco and Marilena Vecco 2002, the winners curse is a market suboptimum arising from the discrepancy between the private and common value. During art auction when a Lot is mis-valued, the winners curse serves as a mechanism. For example, evaluating the outcome of editions of art auctions structured by ArtHouse Contemporary, there are instances where art works where bought above the valuation of the lot; like the outcome of November, 2011 art auction where a Ben Enwonwus work, that was evaluated for N20,0000,000-N25,000,000 sold for N30.8 million. What took place here was the winners curse. The price procedure for ArtHouse is different from art galleries in Nigeria. In ArtHouse, the price of a lot is determined by the responsiveness to supply and demand of the lot; the price mechanism is based on the excessive demand, which influences their price principle for supply and demand. For instance, in 1st March, 2010 when Art House had an auction of 106 lots; Peju Alatishes acrylic on canvas painting, Untitled, produced in 2009 (year before the auction), valuated for N450,000-N550,000 sold for N720,000. Similarly Diseye Tantuas acrylic on canvas painting, titled; Merry Go round produced in 2009(year before the auction), valuated for N400, 000-N480, 000; sold for N950, 000. In other words, the demand placed on their work was much more, that was why the highest bidder ended up owning or having it, by influencing the price mechanism of that particular lot which is evident on the outcome for which the art work was sold. This is because some art collectors who are on the patronizing side like to engage in outbidding interested parties during art auctions. But this is not the case with normal exhibitions. Emmanuel Kema Mordi (November 28, 2011), in an interview recalls an experience he had during an art exhibition in Lagos some years ago, where he was one of the exhibiting artists for an exhibition. He said

that, during that exhibition, ceramic pieces that typified patriotism which he valuated for N30,000 each at the exhibition were purchased by an anonymous patron, and so when Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi saw it and realized that they have been bought, he asked, why didnt you give me an opportunity to compete It simply means that Chief Rasheed wanted the price of the ceramic pieces to be higher so that he can have the opportunity to outbid the collector who had purchased the items, but sadly, exhibitions and galleries are not auction houses where price mechanism for the highest bidder is a modus operandi. In art galleries in Lagos what the researcher observed is that the price mechanism for an art work is not influenced by the demand, but in most times is influenced by a bridge of compromise, between the art gallery and the buyer or patron. Just a fraction of patrons and collectors buy art works at the price valuated by an artist. Art galleries price mechanism is like a normal market where a shoe buyer; walks into the market to buy a shoe worth N35, 000 and what he can afford is N19,500 and negotiates with the seller for N19,500; at the end of the day, the buyer walks away with the shoe for N19,500. The fact that he bought it for that amount does not imply that the shoe was under-priced, though that was what it suggested. In this instance it literally means that there was a bridge of compromise between the buyer and the seller. This example above is precisely what happens in most art galleries in Nigeria. Bruce Onobrakpeya made a statement in respect to the example cited above as part of the experiences he has encountered in the art market, coming in contact with clients who want to impose their price on your art work; an imposition usually unfavorable to the artist. Most people who are not fully acquainted with the price mechanism of works of art always assume that; the art work that survives the test of time is more valuable. For example if a gold accessories bought 20years ago, till today has not faded out; it is assumed that it is more valuable than the gold accessories bought few months ago, because of the test of time the previous gold had survived doesnt mean it will sell higher when auctioned; what determines the price aside its durability, is usually the demand placed on the commodity. This example is akin to the work of art. But that is not what determines the valuation of a work of art because most of us have this notion that the longer an art work stays; the higher the valuation. But that is not very true; from the records of art works sold during various art auctions by ArtHouse Contemporary, there are cases where art works that are not up to a year old after production sold much higher than art works produced many years back. We should however not loose sight of the fact that a major impetus that governs ArtHouse Contemporary as an art auction outfit is profit for the institution and the artist. Another factor that favours the ArtHouse is their transparency in pricing which is why it is possible for one to access the result of the lots on their web page. From the above, the recent art auctions by ArtHouse Contemporary has boosted the Nigeria art market, not just in profile-raising of the artist and their creation but also in the valuation of the work of art produced by artist in the secondary market. In concluding this chapter it is pertinent to recall Dele Jegedes views regarding the development of the art market in Nigeria so far. He notes that the art market has been on the upswing, no doubt, but we have to relativize things because the art market is an evolving one, and cannot, quite predictably, be expected to be on parity with the western market, given the structure that currently exists; that is not to say that some artist are undervalued. Nigeria must first develop its own market and establish a baseline before others respond; which is what the ArtHouse Contemporary and of recent Yemisi Shyllon and others are trying to do. In other words, the influence of the activities in ArtHouse is now encouraging a swift recovery of our modern and contemporary art market. Another significant development is the set of investors such as Yemisi Shyllon, Nike Davies, Rasheed Gbadamosi, Frank Okonta and others who value the advancement of the economy who have now turned the passion of art appreciation to an investment value and are precise to add art as an asset to their portfolio. CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION This research focuses on the activities of ArtHouse Contemporary in a bid to evaluate the art market in Lagos. This research was done with the aid of virtual environment, Library, news paper and interviews with opinion leaders in the art industries, such as; Bruce Onobrakpeya, Olu Amoda,etc and avid collectors like; Engr, Yemisi Shyllon, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Chief Frank Okonta,etc An important aspect of note in this work is that the art market operates in hype, equal footing and unequal footing with art patrons. Furthermore the art market is like any commodity in a market place

which operates by the economic principles which makes known to us the higher the demand, the higher the valuation. Most lots sold in the ArtHouse show that valuation range put forward the consumers demand. In situations like this the highest overpayment over the common value of the lot wins the bidding. Many people have the idea that, the valuation of an art work, profoundly relies on the date and place of sale which in most cases is not entirely true, because the buyer is the judge of his/her taste and from the outcome of several art auctions structured by ArtHouse Contemporary, the researcher holds the view that prices vary between lots from artists and perhaps avid collectors produced same year. When such outshot of sales of art is recorded, it simply suggests that the demand in the art market for younger artist is on the increase. However the art market is unpredictable from auction results (see www.arthouseng.com). Yemisi Shyllon notes that he buys art that intuitively appeals to him which is an outcome of the knowledge he acquired from researches and studies of work art. In other words, those players in art market operate by getting hold of knowledge in art which amplifies their intuition for selection. The valuation of the lot, from the research findings somewhat triggers patrons for the pleasure it gives to him/her and relatively for the expectation that when resold, it would provide a good capital demand, because taste fluctuates when acquired through repeated experience. To be precise, auction houses valuation for lots, relies so much on the number and quality of bidders. In this regard there is a systematic difference between galleries and exhibition sales. Galleries and exhibitions enlighten the society while in art auctions, a huge investment world with countless transactions abound. However the galleries and exhibition sale, usually have lower valuation to measure up with art auctions; because the art auction house is a function of little or no market distortion. The future of Lagos art market is very bright with a tremendous increase in the amount of potential buyers. For the first time in the history, at the 2011 art auctions structured by ArtHouse Contemporary; a British Museum in United Kingdom acquired our modern and contemporary art. Which suggests that our art market will become a broad-base for avid collectors to invest trade, in the future. CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED Research for the art historian is his/her culture, because without it knowledge cannot be acquired; useful and insightful thought would not be known. Lagos has unstable atmospheric condition, undergoing a research there was not quite easy, because of the traffic in Lagos, locating some addresses of individuals the research was suppose to interview was not quite easy. In some cases I missed my way and had to spend unplanned expenses. Finally, the relevance of this research cannot be over emphasized, because this research contributes to the awareness of such market outlet for artists that is stable and credible. The work demonstrates also an understanding of the art market and what drives it. Though the art market is a broad angle, and I recommend that more grounds should be covered. In so doing, information will be available to enlighten our national community. Bibliography WORKS CITED Kubler, George. The Shape of Times Remarks on the History Of Things, London: Yale University Press, 1962 Berger, John. Ways of Seeing, England: Penguin Books Ltd, 1972 Huer, Jon. The Great Art Hoax, Popular press 1, 1990 Steiner, Christopher Burghard. African Art in Transit, Cambridge University Press, 1994. Print Larry Shiner, The Invention Of Art, A Cultural History, University Of Chicago Press, 2001 Mossetto, Gian Franco and Marilena Vecco, The Economics Of Art Auctions, Milano, Italy: Franco Angeil s.r.l, 2002 Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 2005 PDF file Pope Juliuss (II) Motivation behind Art Patronage, Wikipedia, 2007 Proyect, Louis. The Unrepentant Marxist, http:// louisproyect.wordpress.com/2008/02/21/art-ascommodity Adepegba, C.O. Ara: The Factor of Creativity in Yoruba Critical Interventions Journal of African Art History and Visual culture, 3:4(2009) 223-231. Okorare, Efe. The Visual Art Market Visual Arts Review, 1: 2 (2010) 21 Bisi Silva,Collectors Focus: Sandra and Joe Obiago, CCA Lagos News Letter, 11 (2011) 6-7 Oral Interviews

Bruce Onobrakpeya Olu Amoda Nana Asumah P.K. Dasilva Peju Alatishe Stella Awo Emmanuel K. Mordi Engr. Yemisi Shyllon Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi Chief Frank Okonta