French-Vietnamese painter’s work fetches $570,000 at art auction

By Hieu Nhan   April 23, 2022 | 12:23 am PT
‘Mère et enfant’ (Mother and child) by French-Vietnamese painter Le Thi Luu has been sold for €529,200 ($573,700) in an online auction by Sotheby’s.

Though it was only valued at €80,000, it ended up getting the highest bid at the ‘Indochine’ auction earlier this week.

The 35.8 x 27.5 cm ink and color on silk work, created in 1960, depicts a mother carrying her child in her arms. They appear to be traditional Vietnamese, with the mother wearing a white ao dai.

"This touching, intimist painting on silk is emblematic of the work of Le Thi Luu, suffused with the devoted love between mother and child," Sotheby’s stated on its website.

"Her face glows with warm motherly love".

‘Mère et enfant’ by Le Thi Luu. Photo courtesy of Sothebys

‘Mère et enfant’ by Le Thi Luu. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's

Art researcher Ngo Kim Khoi said he was not surprised by the high price and in fact expects it to beworth even more in future.

"The artist did not use primitive colors but delicately blended them to create an overall pastel color painting that shows her unique artistic style".

The artist is said to have done it to express her feeling for her family and homeland while living in France.

Born in 1911, Luu was one of the first women students at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts d’Indochine (Indochina College of Fine Arts), and at 16 became its first woman painter.

She moved to Paris with her husband, Ngo The Tan, in the early 1940s. She immersed herself in her Vietnamese cultural roots with a series of ink and pigment works on silk in the 1950s.

Vietnamese women and children were her favorite subjects. She is well-known for her ability to combine colors, light and delicate strokes.

Her paintings have been exhibited at many galleries in Paris.

By 1962 she was teaching at many art schools in France such as Lycée Corot, Lycée Rodin Paris and Lycée d'Orsay.

In 1971 she retired and moved to the south of France. She passed away in 1988.

‘Indochine’ was dedicated to Vietnamese arts of the 20th century, and 49 paintings, lacquer works and sculptures by the first graduates of the Indochina College of Fine Arts went under the hammer.

The total bids were worth over $1.19 million.

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