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Masters’ artworks up for auction

Update: June, 19/2018 - 16:19
High Crow by Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – An auction featuring works by the masters of Vietnamese fine arts will be held at the Chọn Auction House on June 24.

With the theme Quintessence, the auction house’s session no14 will present a selection of works by well-known artists from different generations such as the École Superieure des Beaux Arts de I’Indochine (Indochina Fine Arts College), which spans from 1925 to 1945, and the resistance fine arts courses from 1950 to 1954.

Artists from the Indochina Fine Arts College include Trần Văn Cẩn, Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm, and Bùi Xuân Phái, who are regarded as pillars of the first and second generations of modern Vietnamese art, also known as Nghiêm-Liên-Sáng-Phái and Trí-Vân-Lân-Cẩn.

Huế Moment in Time by Trần Văn Cẩn

Cẩn is considered one of the pioneering “Four Masters” of Vietnamese modern art, alongside Nguyễn Gia Trí, Nguyễn Tường Lân and Tô Ngọc Vân. His best known work, Em Thúy (Little sister Thúy), a portrait of a young girl seated on a chair, is probably Việt Nam’s most famous painting and hangs in the Việt Nam Fine Art Museum in Hà Nội.

The auction will feature his painting Huế Xưa (Huế Moment in Time), made in 1981. The 42cm by 85cm pastel-on-paper work is from collector Bùi Quốc Chi, and has a starting price of US$10,000. 

Nghiêm is from the last generation of artists trained at the Indochina Fine Arts College. He is regarded as an innovative artist with highly original creations in terms of artistic language and ability to portray nationalism.

Charming Day in Tây Bắc by Trần Hữu Chất

Two of his paintings, Hình Mẫu Gióng (Model of Gióng) and Cất Cao Tiếng Gáy (High Crow), will be auctioned at the Chọn Auction House. The 23cm by 25cm, gouache-on-paper Model of Gióng, which was painted in 1990, will have a starting price of US$1,600. High Crow, a 31cm by 40cm crayon-on-paper painting, will be auctioned from a starting price of US$2,500. 

Phái, studied in the same class as Nghiêm, is one of the most respected of Việt Nam’s modernists and is best known for his paintings of old Hà Nội streets as well as his portraits of actors and singers. His stylised and heavily-outlined street scenes convey both a sense of nostalgia for Việt Nam’s past and a feeling of melancholy and foreboding about the future. They have a unique, seductive style that some call the Phái Street style.

Model of Gióng by Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm

A total of 13 paintings by Phái will be auctioned. 

Quintessence also marks the return of Mai Long, Lê Bá Đảng, Trần Hữu Chất, and Lê Công Thành, among others. Chất, who passed away just last month, graduated with the resistance fine arts course. 

Several paintings by Chất, including a sơn mài (lacquer) painting named Ngày Duyên Tây Bắc (Charming Day in Tây Bắc), will be auctioned. The 65cm by 90cm painting was made in 2013 and comes from collector Hàn Ngọc Vũ. 

An exhibition from June 17 to 23 precedes the auction, which will be held on June 24 at 6pm at No 17 Trần Quốc Toản Street. — VNS

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