“Portrait of Ms. Phuong” by Mai Trung Thu, “Nude” by Le Pho … are among the million-dollar paintings on the public auction floor.
“Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong” ( Portrait of Ms. Phuong ) by Mai Trung Thu has just become the most expensive painting of Vietnamese art when it reached $ 3.1 million in the auction in Hong Kong on the afternoon of April 18. According to Sotheby’s, “Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong” is a monumental picture but very gentle and close. The auction house describes the work that encapsulates Mai Trung Thu’s feelings for Phuong – a Hanoi woman, who is said to be his lover. Oil painting was composed by Mai Trung Thu in 1930, size 135.5 x 80 cm, when he was a painting teacher at Lycee Francais de Hue school (French High School in Hue).
The work was first exhibited at the Indochina Fine Arts College in 1930 and the Colonial International Exhibition in Paris from May 6 to November 15, 1931. Then, Ms. Dothi Dumonteil (French Vietnamese-Vietnamese) and her husband Pierre Dumonteil – art collector – own the work, put the painting in the collection “Les Souvenirs d’Indochine: The Madame Dothi Dumonteil Collection”.
Also in yesterday’s auction, Pham Hau ‘s picture “View of a Famous Old Pagoda’s landscape in North Vietnam” reached a price of one million USD. The lacquer painting painted in the 1930s, size 104 x 153cm, also belongs to the collection of Mrs. Dothi Dumonteil.
The auction organizer commented that Pham Hau has excellent technical skills and workmanship, complimenting the painting: “Describing the lush green landscape of an ancient temple hidden in the rural mountainous areas of North Vietnam, the real picture is rare and enchanting.The temple’s magnificent architecture rising amidst the forest represents a metaphor of peaceful coexistence between mankind and nature.The work is reminiscent of contemporary Art Deco motifs, the combination of Eastern and Western cultures “.
Before that, Pham Hau drew attention when his picture “Nine carps in the water” sold for more than $ 1.1 million at the “Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Evening Sale” auction at February 2019. The lacquer screen was assembled with four panels, each plate size is 50 x 180cm, born in the period 1939-1940 – the peak period of his writing career.
Pham Hau (real name: Pham Quang Hau) was born in 1903 in a poor family with many children in Dong Ngac village, Hoai Duc, Hanoi. Graduated from Indochina Fine Arts School, he is considered a leader in the Vietnamese lacquer art industry. His works are presented in many forms such as cabinets, screens, wall paintings, handicrafts, mostly sold abroad in the decade 1940-1960. The artist is one of the three founders of the National School of Fine Arts, the predecessor of Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts. Photo: Sotheby’s.
May 5/2019, the painting “Nude” ( Nudity ) of Le Pho – sold $ 1.4 million in the auction, “20th Century & Contemporary Art” by Christie’s in Hong Kong. Oil painting, size 90.5 x 180.5 cm, created in 1931, is in the art collection of Tuan H Pham – Vietnamese American.
Nude painting was once a taboo to Confucian thinking in old Vietnam. “In this fascinating picture, the artist’s virtuous will and skill are clearly shown. His great wish is to break away from the Confucian past. One can make a break with the Confucian past,” the auction house said. imagined the revolutionary intentions in which. Le Pho created a new foundation and broke the traditional rules, highlighting the complexity and his vision of talent. “
Le Pho brought his paintings to France in 1937 and stored it in a small rented apartment in Paris. In 1940, war broke out between France and Germany, the painter joined the French army. Before going to the battlefield, he told the innkeeper that he would return to pay his rent soon. He left his paintings as a guarantee. However, the landlord sold the painting to settle his debt.
Artist Le Pho, born in Ha Dong, Hanoi, was one of the first excellent students of the Indochina Fine Arts School, trained by the French principal – painter and professor Victor Tardieu. In 1937, Le Pho moved to France, married Mrs. Paulette Vaux – a reporter of Time & Life newspaper and settled here. Pierre Le Tan – the son of two people – was born in 1950, becomes one of the famous illustrators in France. His grandson – Olympia Le Tan – is known as a famous fashion designer.
Photo: Christie’s .
Also in the auction in May 2019, “Les Desabusees” (Disillusioned) by To Ngoc Van sold for more than 1.1 million USD. Silk painting was born in 1932, size 92.5 x 57cm, belongs to the art collection of collector Tuan H Pham. The painting was displayed at the exhibition “Arts du Vietnam: La fleur du pecher et l’oiseau d’azur” at the Royal Museum of Mariemont (Belgium) in 2002.
The picture at first shows the disappointment of two elegant women through postures and facial expressions. However, To Ngọc Van’s work evokes more than that. According to experts, the status of Vietnamese women, the legitimacy of an elite, Western and Chinese influences all exist in this picture.
To Ngoc Van is a famous painter from Hung Yen origin, in the “quartet” of the best Tri, Nhi Van, Tam Lan, Quaternary Can (Nguyen Gia Tri, To Ngoc Van, Nguyen Tuong Lan, Tran Van Can). He is considered to be the first person with the first merit in using oil paints in Vietnam. One of his most famous works is “The Woman by the Lily Flower” painting.
$ 1.1 million is the sale price of a painting “Family Life” at Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction in April 2017. Le Pho painted this picture in the period 1937-1939, material including ink and pigment mixed with glue on burlap, size 82 x 66 cm.
Experts say that “Family Life” is visually attractive, a delicate and rare silk painting, the culmination of Le Pho’s illustrious career. The work depicts an intimate moment in a leisurely day, focusing on the image of a mother and child. While the child obediently rested her head on the mother’s lap, hugging her knees, the mother tilted her head down, held her hand, and patted her head as a way of praise. Both form a harmonious oval representing the reciprocal nature of motherhood.
The bright soft palette used shows serenity and tenderness. Le Pho conveys an idyllic picture of life and people in Vietnam, in which family happiness is the foundation. Follow vnexpress/ Photo: Sotheby’s .