Vietnamese paintings to be auctioned in Paris

March 11, 2020 - 16:15
French auction house Aguttes will focus on major works by Vietnamese artists on March 11. 


Painting Joy II by Mai Trung Thứ will be auctioned in Paris.  

HÀ NỘI — French auction house Aguttes will focus on major works by Vietnamese artists on Wednesday. 

Aguttes will put 37 lots up for auction, including works by many Asian artists and European artists focusing on Asian countries and people.

Twenty-six works in this auction are by Vietnamese artists. 

The highlight of the auction is a wonderful painting by Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980). This painting has a very good provenance – from a private collection in France. It was purchased from artist Thứ himself and has been well preserved, according to Bùi Hoàng Anh, a member of the Việt Nam Fine Arts Association and Editor-in-Chief of Việt Nam Fine Arts Magazine.

Joy II, silk, 35cm by 95cm was composed by artist Thứ in 1963 and was the second painting in a series of three works. There are recorded images of the artist sitting next to these three paintings.

Afterwards, he split them into three separate paintings. The third part of Joy III was sold in 2014. Only the location of the middle painting is currently unknown. Aguttes is actively looking for the rest of this series so that they can assemble all three paintings of the original version.

"With a starting price of 100,000 – 150,000 Euros (US$114,000 - 170,000), it is not known how much the bid can be," said Anh. "But surely this auction will attract billionaire-art lovers as the search and ownership of the rest of the three paintings will stimulate desire.

"If all three paintings are assembled together, this could be the longest silk painting by Thứ."

In the certificate, Aguttes' expert Charlotte Reynier wrote that the work shown is highly appealing for its liveliness and the multitude of characters it portrays.

Many of Thứ’s compositions feature a very small number of characters in a refined setting. With characteristic precision, he depicts a swarm of children in a variety of spontaneous attitudes – running around, picking flowers, playing marbles – with a wealth of different expressions.

Thứ (1906 - 1980), known as Mai Thứ, was born to a prominent northern family in Việt Nam. In 1937, he went to France for the International Decorative Arts Exhibition with two friends he had met during his studies Lê Phổ and Vũ Cao Đàm.

Among the works by Vietnamese artists, Nguyễn Đức Nùng's silk painting Cô Gái Bên Giỏ Hoa (Girl With A Flower Basket), has been reviewed by Việt Nam Fine Arts Magazine and received attention from art lovers.

It is not an excellent work, but it is a rare work by artist Nùng (1914-1983).

The painting is worth either as an investment or for collecting in terms of historical value, according to Anh. "It is likely that paintings will return to Việt Nam because Vietnamese collectors are fond of paintings of this style which fits with the mellow, romantic soul and aesthetics," said Anh.

The auction will begin at 2.30pm, Paris time. —VNS

Artist Mai Trung Thứ poses in front of this large scene divided into three parts. Photo courtesy of Việt Nam Fine Arts Magazine