Mai Trung Thu Painting Auctioned for US$1.57 Million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong

Sotheby’s said it is a unique work. "The tranquillity of the scene induced by the color harmony and the sweet expression of the woman is counterbalanced by the tension of the hat’s strap she pinches as the breeze animates the flap of the tunic".

Femme au Chapeau Conique le Long de la Rivière’ by Mai Trung Thu has fetched the second-highest ever price for a Vietnamese painting at $1.57 million, reported by VnExpress.

Initially, the auction house estimated that the price of the local painting ranged between US$640,000 and US$897,000, according to VOV.

‘Femme au Chapeau Conique le Long de la Rivière’ (Young Woman With A Conical Hat By The River) was sold at the ‘Mapping Modernity’ auction held by Sotheby's Hong Kong on Dec. 14.

The picture features a woman wearing a blue Ao dai, the Vietnamese traditional long dress. She has an oval face, large eyes, and curly hair falling on her cheeks. The character's identity has not been clarified, but it is thought to be Mai Trung Thu's favorite role model during his time in the ancient city of Hue.

Sotheby’s said it is a unique work. "The tranquility of the scene induced by the color harmony and the sweet expression of the woman is counterbalanced by the tension of the hat’s strap she pinches as the breeze animates the flap of the tunic".

Through this work, Mai Trung Thu showcases his palette skills and brushstroke dexterity, achieving a highly seductive impression of daily life in the central town of Hue, which is depicted in the painting. It is one among a few of Thu's oil on canvas paintings. The painter instead spent his life working on silk.

Mai Trung Thu Painting Auctioned for US$1.57 Million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong
Femme au Chapeau Conique le Long de la Rivière’ (Young Woman With A Conical Hat By The River) by Mai Trung Thu. Photo courtesy of Sothebys

In April, Thu’s ‘Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong’ was sold for more than $3.1 million at Sotheby's Hong Kong to become one of the priciest Vietnamese artworks. In November, his "Lady Playing A Nguyet Cam" painting fetched $1 million at Bonhams auction.

Thu (1906-1980) was named along with Vu Cao Dam, Le Thi Luu, and Le Pho as the most prominent artists of the golden age of Vietnamese modern art.

Mai Trung Thu is a famous painter who specialized in modern Vietnamese art in the early 20th century. He had graduated from the Indochina Fine Arts College during the 1925 to 1930 period before he went on to live and work most of his life in France.

The ‘Mapping Modernity’ auction also featured three other paintings of Thu, including "Nature Morte" (Still Life), "Jeune Femme Couchée (Young Woman Lying Down), and "Mélodie" (Melodies).

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Source: VnExpress/ VOV

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