Vietnamese painting sells for $367,797 at Paris auction

March 18, 2022 - 08:46
Vietnamese painter Trần Tấn Lộc's painting Thiếu Nữ Chải Đầu (Young Woman Doing Hair) has been sold for EUR335,360 (US$367,797) in Paris, France.


Thiếu Nữ Chải Đầu (Young Woman Doing Hair) by painter Trần Tấn Lộc sold for US$367,797 in an auction in Paris, France.

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese painter Trần Tấn Lộc's painting Thiếu Nữ Chải Đầu (Young Woman Doing Hair) has been sold for EUR335,360 (US$367,797) in Paris, France.

It was sold during the Painters of Asia Major Works session by Aguttes, the fourth-largest French auction house. The price is double what Aguttes estimated, including taxes.

In the 76x53cm work, Lộc represents the wife of his younger brother in 1932. And the painting is the only work that he made with ink-on-silk, a special technique taught at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de l'Indochine (Superior School of Fine Arts of Indochina) which is now Việt Nam University of Fine Arts in the 1930s.

Aguttes described Lộc's character as "a young woman sitting on the floor in a sleek interior. The richness of her outfit allowed us to guess her social status. The fabric representation of her áo dài suggests a very refined material, decorated with flowers and interlacing patterns, where the sense of detail is worked in depth."

"Her adornment, composed of two bracelets and a necklace made of jade pearls, underlines the nobility of this young woman. Her hair loose and delicately combed, she observes herself through a wooden mirror, characteristic of Asian interiors.

"Thanks to a palette with brown tones, the artist respects the codes of his country but discreet touches of colour enhance the composition and bring to this subject a unique and innovative vision as the greatest artists have done, such as Degas and his scenes of women doing their hair."

The painting was signed and dated lower left, titled and signed upper right. It is in its original carved frame with an old label on the back that reads "To the delight of the eyes. Workshop of decorators. 6 Bd Gia - Long. Hanoi".

It was acquired by Vietnamese collectors before 1950. They kept it since then and brought it to France when they moved in around 1976. It has been passed down through the family since then. 

Also at the auction on March 14 at Aguttes, there were almost 50 works of different painters including Vietnamese artists such as Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980), Lê Phổ (1907-2001), Lê Thị Lựu (1911-1988) and Vũ Cao Đàm (1908-2000). But none of them achieved such a high price.

Painter Lộc (1906-68), was a famous illustrator and advertising artist in Hà Nội. 

He took part in a contest on advertising posters in Sài Gòn, now HCM City, in 1930 and won second prize.

He was invited to draw Indochina silver coins and Việt Nam's national emblem. The artist worked at Hà Nội Fine Arts Company until retirement. — VNS