Masters’ artworks up for auction

June 20, 2018 | 10:21
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An auction featuring works by the masters of Vietnamese fine arts will be held at the Chon Auction House on June 24.
masters artworks up for auction
High Crow by Nguyen Tu Nghiem

With the theme Quintessence, the auction house’s session no14 will present a selection of works by well-known artists from different generations such as the École Superieure des Beaux Arts de I’Indochine (Indochina Fine Arts College), which spans from 1925 to 1945, and the resistance fine arts courses from 1950 to 1954.

Artists from the Indochina Fine Arts College include Tran Van Can, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, and Bui Xuan Phai, who are regarded as pillars of the first and second generations of modern Vietnamese art, also known as Nghiem-Lien-Sang-Phai and Tri-Van-Lan-Can.

masters artworks up for auction
Hue Moment in Time by Tran Van Can

Can is considered one of the pioneering “Four Masters” of Vietnamese modern art, alongside Nguyen Gia Tri, Nguyen Tuong Lan and To Ngoc Van. His best known work, Em Thuy (Little sister Thuy), a portrait of a young girl seated on a chair, is probably Viet Nam’s most famous painting and hangs in the Viet Nam Fine Art Museum in Hanoi.

The auction will feature his painting Hue Xua (Hue Moment in Time), made in 1981. The 42cm by 85cm pastel-on-paper work is from collector Bui Quoc Chi, and has a starting price of US$10,000.

Nghiem is from the last generation of artists trained at the Indochina Fine Arts College. He is regarded as an innovative artist with highly original creations in terms of artistic language and ability to portray nationalism.

masters artworks up for auction
Charming Day in Tay Bac by Tran Huu Chat

Two of his paintings, Hinh Mau Giong (Model of Giong) and Cat Cao Tieng Gay (High Crow), will be auctioned at the Chon Auction House. The 23cm by 25cm, gouache-on-paper Model of Giong, which was painted in 1990, will have a starting price of US$1,600. High Crow, a 31cm by 40cm crayon-on-paper painting, will be auctioned from a starting price of US$2,500.

Phai, studied in the same class as Nghiem, is one of the most respected of Vietnam’s modernists and is best known for his paintings of old Hanoi streets as well as his portraits of actors and singers. His stylised and heavily-outlined street scenes convey both a sense of nostalgia for Vietnam’s past and a feeling of melancholy and foreboding about the future. They have a unique, seductive style that some call the Phai Street style.

masters artworks up for auction
Model of Giong by Nguyen Tu Nghiem

A total of 13 paintings by Phai will be auctioned.

Quintessence also marks the return of Mai Long, Le Ba Dang, Tran Huu Chat, and Le Cong Thanh, among others. Chat, who passed away just last month, graduated with the resistance fine arts course.

Several paintings by Chat, including a son mai (lacquer) painting named Ngay Duyen Tay Bac (Charming Day in Tay Bac), will be auctioned. The 65cm by 90cm painting was made in 2013 and comes from collector Han Ngoc Vu.

An exhibition from June 17 to 23 precedes the auction, which will be held on June 24 at 6pm at No 17 Tran Quoc Toản Street.


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