Artworks by celebrated Vietnamese painters snapped up at auction

Les Teinturières (Dyers at Work) by Nguyễn Phan Chánh

HÀ NỘI — Paintings by celebrated Vietnamese artists sold for top dollar on Sunday in Hong Kong.

At an auction by Christie’s Hong Kong on Monday, a collection of four silk paintings by three leading Vietnamese painters, who were among the first students of the Fine Arts College of Indochina, or Ecole des Beaux-Art de l'Indochine in Hà Nội, were sold.

The painting Les Teinturières (Dyers at Work) by Nguyễn Phan Chánh (1892-1984) was expected to go for between HK$2-3 million (about (US$257,000-386,000) but well exceeded those hopes, going for HK$4,375,000 (US$563,000). The painting, created in 1931, depicts the life of a peaceful village with three women sitting side by side dyeing cloth.

Jeune femme attachant son foulard (Young Lady Tying Her Scarf, 1938) by Lê Phổ.

Two paintings by Lê Phổ (1907-2001), Jeune femme attachant son foulard (Young Lady Tying Her Scarf, 1938), and Le Bol Bleu (The Blue Bowl, 1930), were valued at HK$6.8-8.8 million (about US$875,000-1.1 million), and HK$1.6-2.6 million (about US$206,000-334,000). They sold for HK$8,650,000 (US$1.1 million), and HK$2,750,000 (US$354,000), respectively.

Le Bol Bleu (The Blue Bowl, 1930) by Lê Phổ.

In addition, the auction also presented the ink and gouache on silk painting La Joconde (Mona Lisa, 1974) by Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980), which was valued at a price of HK$2.5-3.5 million (more than US$321,000-450,000). The artwork sold for HK$5,625,000 (US$724,000).

In the Christie’s introduction of the artwork, it wrote: “We can imagine Mai Thứ discovering and visiting often the original Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre, from his stay in Paris in 1937 to 1974, the date of execution of his own painting.

"There is no doubt that he scrutinized it, in all the lights of day, in all seasons, indulging in a continuous and attentive observation. A piety.

"He is 68 years old, at the peak of his art (widely recognised) and yet, like a student in a workshop, he launches into the reproduction of the most famous painting in the world.”

La Joconde (Mona Lisa, 1974) by Mai Trung Thứ. — Photos christies.com

Art researcher and collector Lý Đợi said: “While the La Joconde by Leonardo da Vinci features a background of the landscape of the Umbria and Tuscany region in Italy – as art historian Angelo Conti made out, the uniqueness of the one by Mai Trung Thứ is that the landscape in the background reminds viewers of Hạ Long Bay in Quảng Ninh Province."

According to him, Vietnamese art collectors joined the bidding for all four paintings.

“The Les Teinturières (Dyers at Work) has been sold to a Vietnamese collector vie online auction. I hope the painting will be brought back to Việt Nam in the future. Before being sold at the auction, this painting was among a private collection in France,” he said.

Earlier, in April, the on canvas Portrait de Mademoiselle Phương (Portrait of Mademoiselle Phương) by painter Mai Trung Thứ sold at an auction at Sotheby's Hong Kong for US$3.1 million – the highest price ever paid for Vietnamese art.

At the auction on Monday, together with the paintings by Vietnamese painters, there were works from several other world-famous figures such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Banksy. — VNS



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