Vietnamese painters to take centre stage at Aguttes Paris in November

The 36th Asian Painters, Major Works auction at Aguttes, which takes place on November 28, 2022 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, features the work of artists trained at the Indochina School of Fine Arts. A forerunner in this market, Aguttes presents a remarkable lacquer work by the artist Nguyên Khang, as well as iconic paintings by Mai Trung Thứ, Alix Aymé and Lê Phô.

From left to right, Pierre-Alban Vinquant, Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier and Claude Aguttes, October 3, 2022

“After the success of the October 3 sale, totaling nearly 3 million euros, our department, a forerunner in this market, will present new major and unpublished works on November 28. The popularity of these artists on the international market was confirmed by previous sales organized by Aguttes for nearly 10 years,” said Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier, Asian Painters expert. 

Lê Phô (1907-2001), a bridge between East and West

A major artist of the Indochina School of Fine Arts, Lê Phổ demonstrates a perfect syncre-tism between the traditional ink painting on silk of his native land and the impressionist influences of his adopted land, France.

He was quickly noticed by Victor Tardieu, director and founder of the Indochina School of Fine Arts, and in 1931 he participated in the Colonial Exhibition in Paris, then in the Univer-sal Exhibition in 1937. He then decided to settle in France.

Le Pho (1907-2001) | L'illumination de Bouddha | Ink and color on silk
Signed and dated lower left
Created in 1947
86.5 x 114 cm
Estimate: €200,000 - 300,000 

Throughout his life, the artist was inspired by traditional Vietnamese culture. L'Illu-mination de Bouddha is the result of a special commission from one of his very reli-gious Buddhist friends. It is a rare subject for the artist, who created this composition in a spectacular format for his friend.

Le Pho (1907-2001) | Jeune femme au bouquet de pivoines, Oil on canvas
Signed lower right

60 x 72.6 cm
Estimate: €120,000 - 150,000

Soon after his arrival in France, Lê Phô discovered the work of painters such as Renoir, Monet... Captivated by Bonnard's technique, he was inspired by it and his work evolved. Jeune femme au bouquet de pivoines is a perfect example of this pictorial shift.

Nguyên Khang (1912-1989), a rare artist on the market

Born in Hanoi in 1912, Nguyen Khang worked with the greatest in the revival of modern Vi-etnamese art, including the lacquer technique.

Nguyên Khang (1911-1989) | La famille de bergers, Lacquer, with gold highlights, 3 panels
Signed and dated lower right
Each: 61 x 60.5 cm - 61 x 61 cm - 61 x 61.5 cm
Total: 61 x 183 cm

After graduating from the Indochina School of Fine Arts in 1935, five years after Lê Phô, Nguyên Kang chose to remain in Vietnam where he became successful with his work on lacquer. His works presented for sale on the international market are rare. From this set of three lacquer panels, presented today, emanate a quietude as well as a feeling of softness. Produced three years before the artist's death, this work attests to his technical and artistic mastery.

Mai Trung Thứ (1909-1980), artist highlighted by Aguttes

The 35 previous sales organized by Aguttes have put the spotlight back on the work of Mai Trung Thứ, which has long remained under the radar. A Vietnamese painter who graduated from the Indochina School of Fine Arts, he moved to France in the late 1930s. From young girls, to settings in landscapes, Mai Trung Thứ's works pay tribute to the beauty of Vietnamese women, and the artist makes it one of his favorite subjects. The diversity of themes presented in the November 28, 2022 sale reveals several facets of his societal commitments.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980) | Jeune femme arrangeant des fleurs de lotus, Ink and colors on silk
Signed and dated lower left
Created in 1943
59.6 x 43 cm
Estimate: €350,000 - 500,000

The flawlessness of Jeune femme arrangeant des fleurs de lotus demonstrates the dexterity of Mai Trung Thứ, who has mastered the technique of ink on silk. Here, he highlights the elegance of an Asian woman in an interior, who is about to arrange flowers in a vase with a refined decoration.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980) | Deux enfants à la lecture, Ink and color on silk
Signed and dated upper left
Created in 1941
42.8 x 27.5 cm
Estimate: €130,000 - 160,000

Deux enfants à la lecture depicts the transmission of knowledge. In this 1941 painting, the artist represents studious children, absorbed in the study of a book placed on a wooden table. Both seem to be in deep thought, and by his way of representing this scene on the spot, the painter invites the viewer to enter the room and listen to the story read by one of the characters.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980) | Mélodie, Ink and color on silk
Signed and dated lower left, titled and dated on back
Created in 1950
49.8 x 61 cm
Estimate: €250,000 - 350,000

A musician himself, Mai Trung Thứ plays the doc-huyen, a Vietnamese single-stringed musical instrument, which he regularly incorporates into his compositions. In Mélodie, a young woman plays the dan nguyet, a moon-shaped lute.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980) | Jeune fille à l'éventail assise à sa table d'écriture, Ink and color on silk
Signed and dated lower right. In the original frame made by the artist
Created in 1961
28.8 x 18.8 cm
Estimate: €80,000 - 100,000

In Jeune fille à l'éventail assise à sa table d'écriture, the character holds a fan with a floral motif delicately open. Leaning on her table, she is reading her notes, the brushes stored in the traditionally decorated pot.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980) | Jeunes travailleuses, Ink and color on silk
Signed and dated upper left, titled and dated on back
Created in 1974
65 x 27 cm
Estimate: €120,000 - 150,000

Concerned with the political situation in his country, Mai Trung Thứ set out to represent the Vietnamese people in their daily lives. In this work painted just one year before the end of the war in Vietnam, two young girls, dressed simply, stand, probably in the maquis. The purity of the models' features and the softness of their faces, reinforced by the freshness of the colors, give this scene a certain optimism.

Auction Details:

Auction House: Aguttes France
Sale: Asian painters, Major works [36]
Sale Date and Time: 28 November 2022 (Mon) | 2:30pm (Paris Local Time)
Preview Date and Time: 21 - 25 November 2022 (Mon - Fri) | 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5:30pm (Paris Local Time)
Location: Aguttes Neuilly-sur-Seine Auction Room | 164 Bis Avenue Charles de Gaulle

Asian Painters Expert
Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier
+33 1 41 92 06 49

Aguttes, first auction house in Europe on the market of 20th century Asian painters

The Asian Painters department headed by expert Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier has been working for the past decade to bring back to light the little-known Asian artists of the 20th century. Aguttes has thus presented several dozen paintings by Lê Phổ, Mai Trung Thứ or Vu Cao Dam, and has regularly obtained new world records. These efforts have enabled the auction house to take the leading position in Europe in the Asian painters' market, to the satisfaction of buyers from all over the world.

Among the signatures sought after by Asian collectors, and which Aguttes defends with passion, let us mention among others Lê Phổ, Nam Son, Alix Aymé, Le Thy, Vu Cao Dàm, Mai Trung Thứ, Inguimberty, Nguyen Phan Chánh, Nguyen Tien Chung, Tran Phuc Duyen, Le Thi Luu... Raden Saleh... And also Sanyu, Lin Fengmian, Pan Yuliang... as well as all the artists coming from the Fine Arts schools of these regions of Asia.

Sales are organized on a quarterly basis at carefully chosen dates, in connection with the market news on the most important international markets.

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