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Painting by Vietnamese artist sets record at auction

Update: October, 23/2018 - 11:40
The painting of a woman holding a fan by painter Nguyễn Nam Sơn. — Photos thethaovanhoa.vn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — A silk painting featuring a woman holding a paper fan by noted painter Nguyễn Nam Sơn, co-founder of the Indochine Fine Arts college, shocked experts after being sold for 440,000 euro (US$504,300) at an auction sale at Aguttes in Paris on October 22.

This is the highest price paid for a work by the painter in a public sale.

Titled Tonkinoise à l’eventail (A Northern Woman and a Fan), ink and watercolour on silk, 61.5cm x 43cm, the painting was made between 1935-1936. Experts predicted the work to go for 50,000-80,000 euro.

“The most important feature in the painting is the background, which was drawn as embroidered silk,” said researcher Ngô Kim Khôi, a grandson of the late painter. “This style can be seen in other silk paintings by Nam Sơn, proving his expertise when he taught art decoratif at the college.”

He also commented that the price surpassed expectations of participants at the sale and was a positive sign for Vietnamese paintings in the international market.

The painting was in its original frame, created by the Tam Thọ Bồi Tranh workshop, run by Bùi Ngọc Lưu on 58 Rue Maréchal Pétain in Hà Nội.

The workshop was famous for framing paintings using traditional techniques.

Painter Nam Sơn used to get his paintings framed here and sent his oldest daughter Nguyễn Thị Kim Thoa to the workshop to learn the techniques.

Fine arts researcher Ngô Kim Khôi (first right) poses for a photo with other participants at the auction sale. — Photo dantri.com

The painting used to belong to Fernand Maller, a French military official, who was stationed in Hà Nội between January 1936 and April 1938.

The painting was then brought to France and has since been preserved by the official’s family.

At the same auction, as many as 141 items were sold, 28 of which were works by Vietnamese painters or foreign painters on Việt Nam.

Paintings sold included works by Trần Văn Cẩn (1910-1994), Nguyễn Tiến Chung (1914-1976), Vũ Cao Đàm (1908-2000), Lê Phổ (1907-2001), Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980), Alix Aymé (1894-1989) and Trần Văn Thọ (1917).

Works by French painters who lived in Việt Nam included those by Jean Louis Paguenaud (1876-1952), Henri Mège (1904-1984) and Maurice Ménardeau (1897-1977).

On March 26, another silk painting featuring a northern woman by Nam Sơn was also sold at Aguttes for 205,000 euro.

At the same sale, a painting by Trần Văn Cẩn was sold for 230,000 euro, which is the highest price paid for a piece by Trần Văn Cẩn so far.  — VNS

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