Asian artists to shine at Aguttes Paris' Art Auction in March

As a European precursor on the market for artists from Asia, Aguttes is organizing its quarterly highlight, Asian Weeks, from Thursday February 16th to March 9th 2023. On Monday 6th March 2023, the 37th session, Asian Painters, Major Works, will be held, and on Thursday 9th March 2023, Asian Arts, which will feature Vietnam, China and Japan.

Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier, Asian Painters expert: "Our history is intimately linked to the history of Asia. For more than 10 years, Aguttes has been honoring its artists with passion and exigency, uncompromising in its expertise. The works entrusted to us (paintings, lacquers or forgotten and rare Asian objects), the artists and craftsmen who conceived them, their historical collectors, the future buyers.... all deserve this ephemeral spotlight. I am delighted with this new concept, the Asian Weeks, which we thought of in order to share our daily life rich in thrills, emotions and art. We address ourselves to all the curious, without requirement of age or diploma, but... the taste of the beautiful, a certain attraction for the history, a will to intervene at a moment in the life of the objects."

Asian painters, Major works [37] - Monday, March 6th, 2023

It is the only house in the world so specialized on the market of the painters having received at the beginning of the 20th century this double Asian and Western teaching. Aguttes contributes once again to the highlighting of the artists of the Indochina School of Fine Arts. This 37th opus of Asian Painters, Major Works will honor the first classes trained in Hanoi by Inguimberty, Jonchère, Alix Aymé, under the direction of Victor Tardieu, such as Lê Phổ, Lương Xuân Nhị, Vũ Cao Đàm, Mai Trung Thứ.

On March 6th, 2023, fans will be able to grab two compositions by Lê Phổ and Mai Trung Thứ, among others. Both date from the 1940s and were exhibited at the Galerie d'Art Pasteur in Algiers. They testify to the talent of these two masters from the first class of the Indochina School of Fine Arts. This auction also provides a panorama of periods and artists through the different mediums used such as painting on silk and lacquer.

Another highlight of the auction is a work on paper by Sanyu, a reminder of the talent of Chinese artists of the early 20th century.

Indochina School of Fine Arts

Lê Phổ and Mai Trung Thứ at the peak of their talent

Lot 6 | Lê Phổ (1907-2001) | Méditation, Ink and colours on silk
Created circa 1940
27.7 x 24.2 cm

  • 1942-1944, Algiers, Pasteur Art Gallery, Mai Thu Exhibition, Le Pho, Vu Cao Dam, Indo-Chinese Paintings
  • Private collection, Alger (acquired from the previous one)
  • Private collection, South-East of France (by descent from the previous one at the end of the 20th century)

Estimate: €100,000 - 200,000

A graduate of the first class of the Indochina School of Fine Arts, Lê Phổ's training blends Eastern and Western artistic traditions to perfection. Settled permanently in France for a few years, the Vietnamese artist realized around 1940 this composition, entitled Méditation. These years illustrate perfectly his pictorial style, and as evidenced by this ink and colors on silk, the artist captures the essence of Western culture that he manages to integrate skillfully with the traditions of the Far East. Rich in this bicultural learning, Lê Phổ renders like few others the particular softness of young Vietnamese women. Through a mastered technique and influences imprinted on the Italian Primitives, the Impressionists and the Renaissance, the artist offers here a composition where his talent is revealed at its peak.

Everything in this composition invites contemplation: Tonkinese mountains set the scene, and the viewer's eye gets lost in them while lingering on the delicacy of the roses. We contemplate and admire the serenity of this young woman, who adopts an attitude marked by restraint and oriental modesty. With her hands crossed in the manner of the Mona Lisa, she bears witness to the influence of the Italian Renaissance in the artist's work at that time. From the protagonist emanates an elegance, which is also reminiscent of the finesse of Renaissance portraits. The delicate oval of her face, slightly tilted, and the lowered gaze emphasize her modesty. The composition of the decor is also similar to those produced during this period of art history.

Lot 8 | Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980) | Mère et enfant dormant, Ink and colors on silk
Created in 1944, signed and dated lower right, titled on back
54.6 x 45.2 cm

  • Pasteur Art Gallery, Algiers-Oran, Algeria
  • Presumed collection of the Princess of Annam, wife of Emperor Hàm Nghi (1871 - 1944),
  • Villa Gia Long, Algiers
  • Collection of the famous dynasty of Algerian architects Guiauchain, Algiers (most probably received from the former in the late 1940s, brought back to France in 1962)
  • Private collection, South-East of France, 1987 (by descent from the previous owner)


  • 1944, Algeria, Algiers-Oran, Art Gallery
  • Pasteur, Exhibition Maï Thu, Le Pho,
  • Vu Cao Dam, Indochinese Paintings, no. 21, titled “Maternité”

Estimate: €350,000 - 550,000

Coming from the same graduating class at the Indochina School of Fine Arts, Mai Trung Thứ left us notably Mère et enfant dormant, a work characteristic of his style during 1944.

Created for the artist's second exhibition in Algiers at the Galerie Pasteur, this work comes from the Guiauchain collection, a famous dynasty of architects from Algiers. Pierre Auguste Guiauchain, the first of the lineage, was also the first French architect to be posted in Algiers in 1930. Georges Guiauchain and his son Jacques had, as for them, built in particular the Hotel Saint-Georges and are famous for having worked within the villa Gia Long, which was very close. They had a sincere friendship with the imperial family and have kept several Asian objects and furniture.

Built in 1906 in a neo-Moorish style in El Biar near Algiers, the Villa Gia Long, the residence of the Prince of Annam, bears witness to the imperial destiny of the owner of the place, known as Emperor Hàm Nghi. A political prisoner, he lived a long life of exile in Algiers at the beginning of the 20th century. The presence of this silk in the Guiauchain collection attests to the strong ties between the latter and the Annam family. Indeed, the princess of Annam would be at the origin of the presence of this magnificent silk in the Guiauchain collection. Collection in which the work, estimated €350,000 - 550,000, has been stored until today.

Having abandoned the oil painting of his early days, Mai Trung Thứ explored painting on silk, the technique of which he quickly mastered. He applies the color, which he then softens by successive washes: the green and creamy white echo each other, subtly contrasting the ochre hues of the background. The artist thus gives this composition an extreme tenderness.

The key events of the Vietnamese calendar transcribed and sublimated by Lương Xuân Nhị

Lot 16 | Lương Xuân Nhị (1913-2006) | Préparation de la fête du Têt, Ink and colors on silk
Signed lower left
35.5 x 49 cm

  • Private collection, Hanoi (acquired from the artist)
  • Private collection, France (gift from the previous owner around 1980)

Estimate: €80,000 - 120,000

A painter from Hanoi, Lương Xuân Nhị is an important figure in the history of 20th century Vietnamese art. He operates a strange and graceful mixture between Vietnamese and Western themes and techniques, like many artists graduating from the Indochina School of Fine Arts. Known for his impressionistic landscapes and realistic social scenes, the artist, thanks to the use of a soft chromatic range, and the delicate touch proper to his work, manages to give his compositions great depth while maintaining a traditional charm. These travels contribute to the development of this nationalist vision that can be seen in two compositions offered for sale on March 6th 2023 at Aguttes: Préparation de la fête du Têt and Scène animée devant le temple Ngoc Son, Hanoi.

These two works represent two events of great importance: the Lunar New Year and the National Day of Vietnam. On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the north of the country is adorned with peach blossoms which symbolize happiness and good health. While excitement reigns in Hanoi on Vietnam's National Day, which originated on September 2, 1945 following the proclamation of Hồ Chí Minh. The country's flags invade the streets, various commemorations take place, fireworks are fired... This day recalls the victory of the Vietnamese people over the French colonization and also the Japanese invasion.

Lot 17 | Lương Xuân Nhị (1913-2006) | Scène animée devant le temple Ngoc Son, Hanoi, Ink and colors on silk
Signed lower left
38 x 52.2 cm

  • Private collection, Hanoi (acquired from the artist)
  • Private collection, France (gift from the previous owner around 1980)

Estimate: €80,000 - 120,000

"Vietnam has the right to be free and independent and, in fact, has become a free and independent country. All the people of Vietnam are determined to mobilize all their spiritual and material forces, to sacrifice their lives and property to keep their right to freedom and independence."
- Hồ Chí Minh, Hanoi on September 2nd, 1945

A portrait of Đinh Bộ Lĩnh, the future emperor Đinh Tiên Hoàng

Lot 24 | Trần Văn Thọ (1917-2004) | Enfants jouant avec des buffles, Ink and colors on silk
Signed lower left
60 x 116.5 cm

  • Presumed provenance:
  • Former collection of the artist's family
  • Acquired from the previous owner (Southeast of France)

Estimate: €8,000 - 12,000

Estimated at €8,000 - 12,000, Enfants jouant avec des buffles (Children Playing with Buffalo) by Trần Văn Thọ depicts several boys, including Đinh Bộ Lĩnh, the future emperor Đinh Tiên Hoàng.

As an orphan, the latter played with his buffalo herding friends, simulated battles on the backs of buffaloes, and made pennants from reeds. The future emperor trained for battles from his childhood and forged his warrior side before ascending the throne. His reign would lead him to unify the country by defeating the 12 feudal lords, and Đinh Tiên Hoàng would usher in a feudal monarchy after 1000 years of Chinese rule.

Lacquer, the Asian medium by excellence

Under the impetus of the teachers and students of the Indochina School of Fine Arts, lacquer painting, a major and traditional art of Vietnam, is particularly well known abroad. The March 6th 2023 auction offers a selection of works that testify to the mastery of this ancestral process.

Lot 15 |  Alix Aymé (1894-1989) | Les deux enfants annamites, Lacquer and gold and silver highlights
Created circa 1970, signed lower left
48 x 60 cm

  • Private collection, France

Estimate: €50,000 - 80,000

The talented artist Alix Aymé teaches this technique and enriches it by using new materials such as eggshell, cadmium sulfide or chromium oxide, which allow the appearance of new colors such as white, yellow or green. Les deux enfants annamites, with its gold and silver highlights as well as its bright colors, illustrates the renewal of lacquer made by the French artist. This work also shows her attachment to subjects such as childhood, a privileged theme of traditional Vietnamese painting, for which she is fond.

Lot 7 | Indochina School of Fine Arts | Jonques dans la baie, Lacquer with gold and silver highlights and mother-of-pearl, Screen in 4 panels
Created circa 1940 - 50, signed with the stamp "XN MY NGHE V.N HANOI" on the back
Full screen: 100 x 157.9 cm; Height: 100 cm; Width of eah panels: 39.4 - 39.5 cm

  • Private collection, Paris region

Estimate: €80,000 - 120,000

This four-panel screen pays tribute to the beauty of the Vietnamese landscape, with its idyllic bays populated by junks and rocks. Although the creation of lacquerware has long been the prerogative of craftsmen, this work testifies to the true know-how of the students of the Indochina School of Fine Arts, who offer a wonderful representation of their country and position themselves as true artists.

Lot 9 | Indochina School of Fine Arts | Femme sur une jonque derrière un arbre en fleurs, Lacquer with gold and eggshell highlights on panel
Created circa 1935 - 1940
99.5 x 49.1 cm

  • Private collection, South-East of France

Estimate:  €15,000 - 20,000

Estimated at €15,000 - 20,000, this lacquer panel of great quality of execution, which characterizes the greatest students of the Indochina School of Fine Arts, represents a Femme sur une jonque derrière un arbre en fleurs (Woman on a junk behind a tree in bloom). The viewer contemplates the gracefulness of the protagonist, while a lush vegetation treated with gold and eggshell highlights occupies the foreground of the composition.

Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier thanks Mrs. Bùi Hoàng Anh for drawing her attention, as early as February 13, 2023, to the possible link between this lacquerware presented at auction on March 6th and the incomplete composition by Nguyễn Văn Ty that is kept in Hanoi at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum and of which two panels on the left are missing. The latter entitled Feast at the Communal House of Chèm is reputed to have been done by the artist, for his reception examination at the Indochina School of Fine Arts.

China, Sanyu the Chinese calligrapher of modernity

Lot 5 | Sanyu (1895 - 1966) | Nu de dos, Ink on paper
Signed in the middle right
43.8 x 27 cm

  • Collection Jean-Claude Riedel, Paris
  • Private collection, Île-de-France

Estimate: €20,000 - 25,000

Sanyu moved to Paris around 1923 and chose to study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. A brilliant and curious artist, he frequented many artists and minds of his time, including Henri-Pierre Roché - who represented him and introduced him to Picasso -, Matisse, Foujita, Man Ray in particular, whose influence can sometimes be felt in his work. Since the early 2000s, a number of retrospectives have been dedicated to him at the international level and the art market is finally recognizing Sanyu's work, which is very regularly presented for sale on the Aguttes gallery, the European leader for the artist.

Nu de dos is undoubtedly one of the most refined and characteristic works of the artist's style and is a testament to Sanyu's taste for drawing. His early training in calligraphy gave him an obvious ease with this medium, translated by the grace and simplicity of the gesture. Estimated at €20,000 - 25,000, this work on paper, with its sobriety of form and iconography, combines the characteristics of the Chinese master of modern art.

ASIAN ARTS: Vietnam, China, Japan | Thursday, March 9th, 2023

This sale will celebrate the plurality of Asian cultures, highlighting the Far East through a fine ensemble of Japanese and Chinese furniture, but also Southeast Asia with pieces from Burmese, Timorese and Vietnamese traditions. In addition, a number of art objects from the Ba Ria wreck and from a Bavarian collection (lots 76 to 175) will be auctioned.

Among the highlights of the auction is an important bronze statue with a brown patina (lot 37), representing the bodhisattva Manjusri seated in vajraparyankasana. Sitting on a double lotiform base, he presents his hands in vitarka mudra, and richly adorned with jewelry, he reflects a serene face surmounted by a flowery crown that frames a jeweled bun.

Lot 37 |  Important bronze statue with brown patina representing the bodhisattva Manjusri seated in vajraparyankasana on a double lotiform base
China Ming Dynasty, 15th - 16th Century

  • Collection of a former military officer stationed in Indochina, then by descent

Estimate: €25,000 - 35,000

In Sanskrit, the term "bodhisattva" designates one who has vowed to follow the path indicated by the Buddha and has taken refuge with the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. He is committed to helping sentient beings to awaken and leave the cycle of reincarnations, while progressing towards his own final awakening.

Presented by Aguttes on March 9th, 2023, the bodhisattva Manjushri, whose name means "Gracious Glory", is traditionally venerated as the embodiment of Buddhist wisdom - "prajnaparamita" - in China as well as in India and Japan. In China, he is closely linked to Mount Wutai - "Mount of the Five Terraces" - which is considered his earthly home.

Unlike early examples from the Ming Dynasty, this statue, estimated at €25,000 - 35,000, has never been gilded.

Lot 27 | Rare hasami-bako travel case in maki-e gold lacquer on a black background, decorated with young pine shoots emerging from rocks punctuated with eight large blazons of the Ii clan (fruit and tachibana leaves)
Japan Edo Period (1600 - 1868), 19th century
39.4 x 65.5 x 43 cm (Missing and cracked inside the box, wear, missing closures)
Estimate: €3,000 - 4,000

Direction Japan. A travel trunk (hasami-bako), used by high-ranking families to carry personal effects, will also attract the attention of enthusiasts. Carried on a pole, on the shoulder of a footman, this chest (lot 27) presents an elegant decoration, in gold maki-e lacquer on a black background. Young pine shoots surround the Ii clan crests (fruit and tachibana leaves). It is a ceremonial piece intended to show the wealth of the Ii clan, one of the most powerful in Japan during the Edo period (1600-1868).

Private Bavarian Collection | Lots 76 to 175

Discovered in 2019 in southern Vietnam, the Ba Ria wreck - Ba RiaVung Tau province - hid several treasures. Its cargo, mainly composed of ceramics, is similar to that of the famous Belitung wreck, discovered in 1998 in Indonesia. It contains high quality white ceramics from the North China kilns, pieces from the Changsha kilns, green glazed ceramics and some celadons from the Yue kilns. The few pieces from this wreck presented on March 9th, 2023 by Aguttes bear witness to the Tang "golden age".

Lot 79 | A rare celadon stoneware wine cup of the Yueyao type, of oval and slightly four-lobed form, resting on a short circular foot, the base glazed
China, Zhejiang Tang Dynasty, 9th century
The interior incised with scrolls. Label "bao tàng lich su - 1979 - TP. Hô Chi Minh" on the reverse.
14.7 x 4.2 x 8 cm

  • A copy of the dating certificate of the cup (TVT 03), signed by Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan, director of the Museum of History of Ho Chi Minh City, dated and made in Ho Chi Minh City on January 26, 2021, will be given to the buyer

Estimate: €6,000 - 8,000

During the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), China experienced unprecedented cultural, military, artistic and commercial development. Moreover, the Silk Roads experienced a revival through the expansion of maritime trade routes in particular. This major axis of trade linked the cities of southern China (Guangzhou,...) to South-East Asia, then to the Indian subcontinent and finally to the maritime routes of the Middle East (Persian Gulf, Red Sea...). This intensification of trade pushed the Tang dynasty to engage in mass production, especially of the very famous Chinese ceramics, for export abroad. In this context, many merchant ships sank in the waters of Southeast Asia, and constitute, upon their rediscovery, exceptional sources of information and enrich the knowledge of the Maritime Silk Roads.

Among the secrets of Ba Ria, the connoisseur will notice a rare celadon stoneware wine cup dating from the 9th century (lot 79) estimated at €6,000 - 8,000 or a rare cup with its four-lobed support dating from the 9th century (lot 82) estimated at €4 ,000 - 6,000, a celadon stoneware brush holder made in the 12th century (lot 84) with an estimate of €5,000 - 6,000.

L’Asie chez Aguttes

The year 2023 begins with the evolution and reinforcement of the departments related to Asia, one of the leading specialties of the firm. Aguttes welcomes Clémentine Guyot and Marine Bassal-Biron to its Asian Art department, as well as Éléonore Asseline for the Asian Painters department. These arrivals allow Aguttes to respond to the growing market demand for these specialties and accompany the firm's desire to internalize its expertise. Aguttes now has 9 employees working around Asia.

Next meeting with Asia: Contemporary Art, Wednesday, April 5th, 2023 at 4pm

On April 5th 2023, the next Contemporary Art session will bring together Asian artists, including Chu Teh-Chun and Kim Tschang-Yeul. The Asian Weeks are an opportunity to preview a fine selection of works.

CHU Teh-Chun (1920 - 2014) | Untitled, Oil on canvas
Created in 1979, signed lower right, countersigned, dedicated and dated on the back
46 x 61 cm
A certificate of authenticity of the Chu Teh-Chun Foundation will be given to the buyer.

  • Given by the artist and then by descent

Estimate: €160,000 - 250,000

This unpublished work by Chu Teh-Chun, dating from 1979, evokes his famous Snow series. An abstract landscape painter, Chu Teh-Chun fell in love with the French mountains in the mid-1960s, and from then on he set about depicting their complex beauty. This painting evokes a winter mountain landscape, all cliffs and reliefs. White represents a major part of the surface, and the bluish tones evoke icy reflections of the snow.

KIM Tschang-Yeul (1929-2021) | Gouttes d'eau, Oil on canvas
Created in 1973,  signed and dated lower right, signed, titled, dated and bearing the cache of the Thot gallery in Avignon on the back on the frame
50 x 50 cm

  • Gallery Thot, Avignon, 1973
  •  Private collection, France


  • "KIM Tschang-Yeul", Galerie Thot, Avignon, 1973

Estimate: €30,000 - 50,000

Kim Tschang-Yeul is an important artist and one of the great figures of art who has contributed to the revival of the contemporary Korean art scene. His grandfather introduced him to the calligraphy of ideograms, and this art will influence his work throughout his career. Born in 1929 in what is now North Korea, Kim went to France where he settled permanently in 1969, after visiting New York in 1965. It was in the early 1970s that Kim Tschang-Yeul used the theme of the water drop, which is distinctive and representative of his work. Dated 1973 and unseen on the auction market, the painting offered on April 5th 2023 by Aguttes is entitled Gouttes d'eau and presents his famous hyper-realistic water drops. Particularly interesting because of its intimate format and its date, this work is one of the first paintings in the Drops series.

Auction Details:

Auction House: Aguttes France

  • ASIAN PAINTERS, MAJOR WORKS | 6th March 2023 (Mon), 2:30 PM (France Local Time)
  • ASIAN ARTS | 9th March 2023 (Thu), 2:30 PM (France Local Time)
  • ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ART | 5th April 2023 (Wed), 4pm (France Local Time)

Exhibitions by appointment:

  • 16th February - 3rd March 2022 (Thu - Fri) | 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5:30pm (except Friday afternoons and weekends)

  • Complementary Public Exhibitions Asian Arts: 6th - 8th March (Mon - Wed) | 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5:30pm

Location: 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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