Vietnamese painting sells for $110,000 at French auction house

By Hieu Nhan   March 8, 2023 | 03:43 pm PT
The "Préparation de la fête du Tet" (Preparation for Tet), by painter Luong Xuan Nhi, has fetched 104,000 euros ($110,000) at an auction in Paris.

The painting was sold on Monday night after 10 rounds of bidding at the Aguttes auction house in Paris. The ink and color on silk painting, signed in the lower right corner, portrays a bustling scene of people strolling and trading at the O Quan Chuong Old City Gate in Hanoi during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

The atmosphere at Tet is depicted through two branches of pink and white cherry blossoms, with soft color strips and delicate strokes creating depth in this piece of art.

The auction house wrote: "The typical use of ink and colors on silk brings to this painting a traditional charm while the softness of the palette brings a delicacy proper to the artist."

The painting Préparation de la fête du Têt. Photo by Aguttes

The painting "Préparation de la fête du Têt". Photo by Aguttes

The painting was purchased by a private collector in Hanoi from the artist and later presented as a gift to a collector in France in 1980.

Another artwork by Luong Xuan Nhi titled "Célébration de la Fête Nationale au Lac Hoan Kiem" (Independence Day at Hoan Kiem Lake), created in the 1970s, was put up for auction in another session. Unfortunately, it did not meet the expected price range of 80,000-120,000 euros and was withdrawn from the auction.

"Using a soft palette characteristic of his work, the artist deals with an unusual theme. This topic pays a beautiful tribute to Vietnam," Aguttes wrote about "Célébration de la Fête Nationale au Lac Hoan Kiem".

The Célébration de la Fête Nationale au Lac Hoan Kiem painting. Photo by Aguttes

The "Célébration de la Fête Nationale au Lac Hoan Kiem" painting. Photo by Aguttes

Luong Xuan Nhi (1914-2006) is a major figure of the Vietnamese art scene in the 20th century. He is a native of Hanoi and graduated in 1937 from the Hanoi Higher School of Fine Arts, which opened in 1924, and which was where French artists worked as teachers, according to Aguttes.

Nhi participated in art exhibitions in Vietnam and abroad since 1936. In 1938, his silk painting "Quan Nuoc Ben Duong" (Pavement Café) was purchased by the World Headquarters Museum in New York.
His works are a mixture of Western and Vietnamese topics and techniques. "I prefer elegance and softness, depicting reality without losing the dreamy and lively impression of pure Vietnamese beauty," he said.

The "Asian Painters, Major Works" auction of the Aguttes featured 29 diverse works of art by Asian painters, raising a total of 1.53 million euros.

Aguttes was founded in 1974 and is the fourth-largest auction house in France. In addition to its main office in Paris, it also has branches in Brussels, Lyon, and Aix-en-Provence. Aguttes has organized many auctions featuring Vietnamese artists.

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