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Julie Mehretu Breaks Her Own World Record For Highest Sale of an African Artwork

Julie Mehretu has done it again. The Ethiopian artist has broken the record for an African artwork at auction. On Wednesday, at Sotheby’s Now Evening Auction in New York, her “Walkers With the Dawn and Morning” (2008) sold for $10.7 million — surpassing the previous record she set last month.

The painting went for $9.5 million, and with fees added, the final cost took it to its record-breaking amount. This follows Mehretu’s recent success at Sotheby’s Hong Kong contemporary evening sale on October 5th, where her untitled 2001 diptych fetched $9.32 million (with fees), surpassing the previous record, held by South African artist Marlene Dumas in 2008.

Mehretu painted “Walkers With the Dawn and Morning” as part of an exhibition created in response to the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans. The painting, combining various elements of Mehretu’s distinctive mark-making style, including architectural drawing, vibrant vectors, and calligraphic sweeps, was part of the 2008 New Orleans Museum of Art exhibition.

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