Sotheby's Hong Kong withdraws 'fake' Vietnamese painting

By Hieu Nhan   October 7, 2021 | 11:48 pm PT
The auction house has withdrawn the painting it posted alongside the name of Vietnamese painter Nguyen Van Ty pending further investigation.

On its website, Sotheby's Hong Kong said the 'L'image traditionnelle d'une maison de paysan' ('Nha Tranh Goc Mit' or rough translation, 'Cottage By Jackfruit Tree') painting has been withdrawn from the upcoming Modern Art Day Sale on Oct. 10.

It also sent a letter to Ace Le, a Vietnamese art curator living in Singapore, saying: "Sotheby’s has become aware of concerns over the authenticity of Nguyen Van Ty’s L'image traditionnelle d'une maison de paysan (Lot 778, Modern Art Day Sale, 10 October, 2021)."

"Sotheby’s takes issues of authenticity seriously, and will withdraw this work from auction and conduct further investigations," Le quoted on his Facebook page.

The Limage traditionnelle dune maison de paysan lacquer on Sotherbys Hong Kong website. Photo courtesy of the auction house

The 'L'image traditionnelle d'une maison de paysan' lacquer on Sotherby's Hong Kong website. Photo courtesy of the auction house

Le previously raised questions over the authenticity of the painting, which was later said to be a copy of Ty’s work by his daughter, painter Nguyen Binh Minh, former deputy director of Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.

The auction house had posted on its website a lacquered wooden screen titled 'L'image traditionnelle d'une maison de paysan' along with the name of Ty for an expected price of HKD700,000-1,000,000 ($89,000-128,500).

The site stated that: "This work is comparable to 'L'image traditionnelle d'une maison de paysan' (1958) by Nguyen Van Ty at the Musee des Beaux-Arts (Vietnam Fine Arts Museum) in Hanoi."

"My father didn't make a painting of a jackfruit tree like that. It's not allowed to associate his name with the artwork," Minh said, confirming the work being auctioned by Sotheby's is not authentic.

Ty's family said they had no intention of contacting Sotheby's, but simply wanted to inform the public about the incident.

In September 2019, Sotheby's Hong Kong pulled two artworks, 'La Thu' (The Letter) by To Ngoc Van and 'Hai Co Gai' (Resting Ladies) by Tran Van Can, after both were believed to be fake.

‘Doi Song Gia Dinh’ (Family Life) by Le Pho, sold for $1.1 million in 2017, was also said to be a fake version by many art experts.

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