Les Pavots by Lê Phổ.
HCM CITY — Over 50 works by modern Vietnamese masters from the early generation of École des Beaux-Arts de l'Indochine (Indochina School of Fine Arts) will be showcased at Sotheby’s first exhibition in Việt Nam - Timeless Souls: Beyond the Voyage – Hồn Xưa Bến Lạ.
As well as the first exhibition in the country held by the leading arts brokers in the world, the public event is also one of the largest Indochine Art exhibitions ever staged in the country.
Taking place from July 11–14 at Park Hyatt Saigon, HCM City, the non-selling exhibition features over 50 works by Lê Thị Lựu (1911 – 1988), Lê Phổ (1907 – 2001), Mai Trung Thứ (1906 – 1980) and Vũ Cao Đàm (1908 – 2000), the four renowned early generation graduates from the École des Beaux-Arts de l'Indochine, who migrated to France in early 20th century.
Fillette aux Nattes avec Son Panier de Fleurs (Girl with Mats and Her Basket of Flowers) by Lê Thị Lựu.
With a mission to foster cultural dialogue between artists and the local community, Sotheby’s Modern Art specialists selected Ace Lê, an independent researcher and writer on Vietnamese art to co-curate this public exhibition as a platform for all to learn more about the local arts and culture through the eyes of some of the world’s most talented artists in the region.
“This is a milestone for the Vietnamese art community across all levels.” Ace comments. “I am honoured to be recognised by Sotheby’s, a global market leader who has such passion and respect for our local arts and cultural heritage, and keen to add local insights to such as a significant exhibition.”
These works of the exhibition illustrate the years of these artists living abroad, a narrative that reflects how the maestros channelled their longing for home with familiar subject matters constructed from intricate threads of memories of Việt Nam – plants and landscapes, families and rituals, culture and architecture, values and philosophy while weaving new perspectives from their journey in France.
Mai Trung Thứ's Le Petit Pêcheur du Lac (Child Fishing by The Lake), ink and gouache on silk, from 1974.
Nathan Drahi, Managing Director, Sotheby's Asia, said: “We are proud to stage Sotheby’s very first exhibition in Việt Nam, in the vibrant town of HCM City, where we hope to reconnect the public with its rich cultural heritage through these exceptional and local works of art.”
Jasmine Prasetio, Managing Director, Sotheby’s Southeast Asia, said: “Sotheby’s has been cultivating the Southeast Asian art market for over two decades and we are proud to have brought some of the most remarkable works by regional artists onto the international platform. We recognise the importance of Việt Nam as a cultural wellspring and its rapidly growing collector base with a passion for collecting and a thirst for knowledge. It is Sotheby’s privilege to share our expertise, information and experience, with new and established collectors, and it is our hope to contribute to this educational endeavour by holding this non-selling exhibition.”
Among the many rapidly growing economies in the region, there is a burgeoning demand and interest in Vietnamese art globally. Having recently set a new artist record for Lê Phổ at the Hong Kong Spring Sales, Sotheby’s now holds the top three auction prices for any Vietnamese artworks.
Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access to and ownership of exceptional art and luxury objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail.
Ace Lê is an independent researcher and writer on Vietnamese art. VNS Photo
Ace Lê is a prominent figure in the local art community who facilitates discussions on the authentication, valuation and identification of Vietnamese modern art. With an MA in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices from Nanyang Technological University, Ace is the Founding Director of the Lân Tinh Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the research, archival and exhibition of Vietnamese art. He is also Editor-in-Chief at Art Republik Vietnam. VNS