Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The painting Nguyệt Ước (Promise under Moonlight). depicting the love between Thúy Kiều and Kim Trọng in Kiều’s Tale by Nguyễn Du, was auctioned at Chọn’s Auction House in Hà Nội on Sunday for US$83,000.
In the painting by Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm (1922 – 2016), Kim Trọng and Thúy Kiều performed a vow under the moonlight, the most beautiful part of the story by Du, who lived from 1766 to 1820.
Trần Quốc Hùng, auction director of Chọn’s Auction House, said he hoped to contribute to building up professional market for Vietnamese fine arts by introducing high quality works with a guaranteed source.
"The amount of money of $83,000 is a high number in the Vietnamese domestic fine arts market," he said. "It proved that the collector respected the painting’s value."
The 70cm by 50cm lacquer previously belonged to private collector Phan Văn Phúc.
During his career, Nghiêm drew several series of lacquer paintings with simple but splendid colours on the themes of the people’s everyday lives in towns and the countryside. He creatively included the motifs of ancient dances and the image of Saint Gióng, a legendary hero of ancient Việt Nam, in his paintings.
He also painted illustrations for Kiều’s Tale, the masterpiece of Vietnamese literature, but these paintings haven’t been published alongside the book. Since 2015, they have been shown to the public at exhibitions.
Nghiêm is one of the four master painters in the last generation of artists trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de L’Indochine (1941-1946), together with Bùi Xuân Phái, Nguyễn Sáng and Dương Bích Liên.
Among 48 artworks auctioned at the same time, 21 sold for a total amount of $216,400.
The paintings Dáng Ngọc (Natural Beauty) by Nguyễn Huyến and Đời Hoa (Life of Flowers) by Lê Phổ were auctioned at $45,000 and $27,000, respectively.— VNS