Vietnamese women subject of major Indochina auction

Created 12 June 2022
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French auction house Aguttes recently included many paintings of Vietnamese women wearing ao dai by Mai Trung Thu and other well-established names in its art sale 'Asian Painters, Major Works'.

French auction house Aguttes opened the session Asian Artists, Important Works on June 3, with two paintings: Modern Chinese Art and 20th Century Indochina Painting. In which, many paintings by famous celebrities Vietnamese painter from Indochina Fine Arts College. Art researcher Ngo Kim Khoi said the works had a clear origin and history, according to the auction houses source. According to Mr. Khoi, women are the eternal subject of artists and also a favorite topic of collectors. Therefore, paintings of women often fetch high prices.  The painting Outdoor was sold for 794,720 euros (about 19.7 billion VND) - the highest in the whole session. Painting with ink and color on silk, size 73x53.8 cm was painted by Mai Trung Thu around 1940-1945. The work depicts two women wearing ao dai sitting on the grass: one looking up at the sky, the other attentively reading a book. The artist embellished some typical items of Vietnam, such as cushions for handrails and wooden objects for storing objects. The auction house wrote: With delicate bun hair, red lips, the two women through Mai Trung Thus drawings are extremely elegant and sophisticated. The work was acquired by the collector at an exhibition in Paris in 1946.  According to the auction houses documents, the artist washed silk many times, bringing softness, flexibility and delicate lines to the work. In an interview at the Paris Institutes gallery, on the occasion of the exhibition Mai Thu - Vietnamese people in Paris, silk painter, Mai Trung Thu said about silk painting technique: Silk must be woven entirely by silk, its so thin and light. The drawing can be sketched with charcoal or pencil. The colors used are watercolor, glue or powder. When drawing, it is necessary to apply force to the color to penetrate the fabric. is to use a brush for oil painting.The painting will then be washed with water. After washing, the color becomes lighter and more harmonious. Care must be taken when handling because the silk peels off and it is difficult to reattach. .

On June 2, the French auction house Aguttes kicked off the 'Asian Painters, Major Works' art sale that included two sessions: Chinese Modern Art and Indochina In The 20th Century. Many paintings by famous Vietnamese artists from the Indochina School Of Fine Arts were featured during the event.
Art researcher Ngo Kim Khoi stated that the works had a clear origin and history. Women, according to him, are an eternal source of inspiration for artists as well as a favorite subject for collectors. As a result, paintings of women frequently fetch high prices.
The painting 'En Plein Air' (rough translation 'Outdoor') was sold for 794,720 euro (around $836,000), the highest bid of both sessions. Painter Mai Trung Thu (1906-1980) created this ink and color on silk work in the early 1940s. The work depicts two women wearing ao dai sitting on the grass with one looking up at the sky, the other attentively reading a book. The artist embellished some typical items of Vietnam, such as cushions and a wooden box for storing objects.
The auction house wrote: "With their hair delicately pulled up in buns and their lips covered in red makeup, these two women are exquisitely elegant and refined."
It also noted that during his training, Mai Trung Thu learnt a particular technique halfway between Asian tradition and European taste: painting on silk.
"The alum allows the conservation of the painting and, moreover, makes the surface of the silk smooth, thus facilitating the work of the artist."

Romance under the moonlight (1943) depicting a man and woman on a moonlit night, pegged at 514 thousand euros (12.7 billion dong). The girl is wearing a long dress, wearing a dress, holding the letter, the boy sitting behind plays the flute. The landscape of Vietnams countryside is integrated through rivers, mountains and bamboo trees falling to the water.  According to the auction house, the painting was born in 1943, when Mai Trung Thu moved to live in an apartment in Vanves, depicting nostalgia for her hometown. In addition, the work also shows the artists love for the flute - an ethnic musical instrument. During his lifetime, he could play the lute, the lute, the zither, and the flute. Painting was bought by a high-ranking French official - a friend of Mai Trung Thu, who used to work in Indochina - and passed it on to many generations.

The 'Romance Au Clair De Lune' (rough translation 'Romance Under The Moonlight') fetched 514,000 euro. The ink and color on silk painting depicts a man and woman sitting under the moon. The girl is wearing an ao dai, a headdress and holding a letter in her hand while the boy sitting behind plays the flute.
Vietnam's countryside landscape is captured with a river, hill and bamboo trees.
"Although created in 1943, the year in which Mai Trung Thu settled permanently in his apartment on Rue du Parc in Vanves, his Asian roots are reflected in this work," the auction house wrote.
Furthermore, the work demonstrates his passion for music, especially for the transverse flute.

Young girl with a cup of tea is set at 130 thousand euros (3.2 billion dong). The painting was born around 1955, size 28x17cm, signed lower right. According to Aguttes, Le Pho kept her love for the image of a charming young woman in a long dress, but added a modern touch with a vase on the right and an almost abstract background behind. In addition to grape ink and silk, the artist uses oil paint to replace gouache in his paintings. Bright colors are painted by him using the technique of playing with colors, sometimes incorporating gaps on the silk background. The work is like a prophecy about the artists future stylistic transformation, using brilliant oil paint colors, leaving silk paintings to canvas.  The work was first presented at the Romanet gallery in Paris, France. The back of the painting is imprinted with Romanets stamp, proving that Le Pho received the attention of the art world here. In March 1959, a Frenchman bought it to put in his personal collection.

The 'Jeune Dille A La Tasse De The' (rough translation 'Young Girl With A Cup Of Tea') went under the hammer for 130,000 euro.
The 28x17-centimeter painting was created around 1955 and signed lower left.
According to Aguttes, Le Pho (1907-2001) maintained his love for "graceful feminine subjects" when incorporating floral composition and an almost abstract background.
The work is like a prophecy about the artist's future transition to the use of bright oil colors and the abandonment of silk in favor of canvas.
The back of the painting is imprinted with a label of the Romanet gallery testifies to the support and interest that Pho received from the French artistic sphere starting in 1942.

Born around 1940, The young girl on the betel rig, size 30x24 cm, is a work showing Le Phos talent with ink and color painting techniques on silk. The artist depicts the image of a girl leaning against a bamboo fence, where betel nut ropes are climbing. According to the auction house, the young woman in Le Phos painting converges with standard Asian beauty: oval face, almond eyes and small mouth. White skin contrasted with ebony black hair. The artist applied the Mannerism of Italian painters in the 16th century when using soft curvilinear lines to draw hand postures and body contours. The movement and details on the scarf are reminiscent of the Greek technique of creasing. The painting sold for 361 thousand euros (8.9 billion), more than three times the original prediction.

'Jeune Fille Au Treillage De Betel' (rough translation 'Young Girl On The Betel Fence') is a work showing Pho's talent with ink and color painting techniques on silk. The artist depicts the image of a girl leaning against a bamboo fence, where betel ropes are climbing. According to the auction house, the young woman in this painting converges with standard Asian beauty: oval face, almond-shaped eyes and small mouth. The 30x24-centimeter ink and color silk painting was sold for 361,000 euro, more than three times the original estimated price.

Vu Cao Dam was also named in the auction with the painting Two mother and son and a knight, oil painting on canvas, size 73.5x60.5 cm. The painting was purchased by collectors at 110,000 euros (2.7 billion VND).  According to Aguttes , born in 1989, the painting is a synthesis of Vu Cao Dams style. In the foreground is a mother wearing a white ao dai holding her child, behind is a man leading a horse. Whether male or female, the characters in the painting all have slim bodies, prominent in the traditional Ao Dai. The work is intertwined between femininity and strength, symbolizing prestige and power, the artist said. write auction.  Artists use brush strokes back and forth to draw different color shades, creating depth for the work. On the dominant blue background, Vu Cao Dam brightens up the composition with subtle touches of yellow and red - his favorite colors. After decades of oil painting, the artist possesses a personal style imbued with modern spirit.

'Maternité Et Cavalier' (rough translation 'A Mother, A Son And A Knight') is an oil on canvas by Vu Cao Dam (1908-2000) that was purchased for 110,000 euro.
The auction house stated that the 73.5x60.5-centimeter painting was created in 1989 and reflects Dam's personal artistic style with a modernist spirit.
"The soft brushstrokes and color tones also delineate depth," it wrote. "The blue-dominated palette is recurrent in the artist’s work."
Mothers and children are also inseparable from his paintings, it added.

The work Divinité (Divine) was painted by Vu Cao Dam in 1992 with oil paint on canvas, sold for 104 thousand euros (2.5 billion dong). With the dominant red background, the artist depicts a woman wearing a yellow robe sitting in the posture of reciting Buddhas name, surrounded by white lotuses.

The work 'Divinite' (Divine), painted by Dam in 1992, was sold for 104,000 euro. With the dominant red background, the artist depicts a woman wearing a yellow robe sitting in the posture of reciting Buddha's name, surrounded by white lotuses.

The work Picking tea, size 45.8x38.4 cm, signed by Le Thi Luu on the bottom right, sold for 437 thousand euros (VND 10.8 billion). The artist depicts an ethnic woman in traditional costume, wearing a tea bag in the foreground. Behind are three other people doing the same job. In the introduction of the work, the auction house said that with traditional silk material, Le Thi Luu uses blue, green, white and pink powder, with gentle touches, bringing softness. and unique to paintings. According to the auction house, far from the usual image of a noble and luxurious young woman, Le Thi Luu honors hard-working women through her works. Painting was bought by the French in 1971.

The work 'La Cueillette Du The' (rough translation 'Picking Tea'), signed by Le Thi Luu (1911-1988) on the bottom right, earned 437,000 euro.
The artist depicts an ethnic woman in traditional costume. Behind are three other people doing the same job. In the introduction to the work, the auction house said that with traditional silk material, Luu used blue, green, white and pink powder, with gentle touches, lending softness and unique touch to the painting. According to the auction house, far from the usual image of a noble and luxurious young woman, Luu honors hard-working women through her works.

Tran Dacs painting Women picking flowers was sold for 5,200 euros (more than 128 million dong). The painting is 62.7x38.7 cm, signed and stamped on the bottom right. The artist uses ink and color on silk, depicting two women in ao dai picking flowers, behind are bamboo bushes. Tran Dac takes the yellow-brown color as the main color, creating a warm, old-fashioned feeling. The auction houses documents suggest that the work is in the collection of Dr. N - who has close relations with many artists such as Bernard Buffet, Georges Mathieu, Tran Dang, Mai Trung Thu... Since then, Mr. Build your personal collection over time.

Tran Dac's painting 'Femmes Cueillant Des Fleurs' (rough translation 'Women Picking Flowers') was sold for 5,200 euro. The painting is of 62.7x38.7centimeters, signed and stamped on the bottom right.
Dac (1922-1980) used ink and color on silk, depicting two women in ao dai picking flowers, behind are bamboo bushes. The yellow-brown tone creates a warm tone for the artwork and exudes an old-fashioned feeling.

Photos courtesy of Aguttes

 Source: VNE

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