Artwork by late Vietnamese painter auctioned for over $1 million

A rare and remarkable painting by one of Vietnam’s leading modern artists, Nguyen Phan Chanh's Les Chanteuses de Campagne, was sold at the Arts d'Asie auction on June 14 in Paris, France for €1.02 million (US$1.09 million), according to Sotheby's Auction House.

Viet Nam News

Viet Nam News



Painting Les Chanteuses de Campagne by Nguyen Phan Chanh. PHOTO: VIET NAM NEWS

June 18, 2024

HANOI – HÀ NỘI A rare and remarkable painting by one of Việt Nam’s leading modern artists, Nguyễn Phan Chánh’s Les Chanteuses de Campagne, was sold at the Arts d’Asie auction on June 14 in Paris, France for Euro 1.02 million (US$1.09 million), Sotheby’s Auction House has reported.

Prior to the auction, Sotheby’s had estimated the painting would fetch between $650,000 to $970,000. The oil on canvas work measures 90.5 cm by 102.5 cm and was completed by the late painter in 1930.

According to Sotheby’s, the painting exemplifies Chánh’s most sought-after period from 1930 to 1935, capturing everyday moments with unparalleled intimacy. The painting portrays two women of modest means in a candid moment, rooted in earthy tones.

This composition, reflecting the artist’s focus on authentic action over aesthetic novelty, offers viewers a poignant glimpse into everyday life in early 20th-century Việt Nam, the auction house stated.

Known as a master of silk painting, Chánh (1892-1984) skillfully applied this technique through the medium of oil on canvas in his artwork Les Chanteuses de Campagne.

The painting was later selected by teacher Victor Tardieu to be submitted for the 1931 Colonial Exhibition in Paris. It was then collected by a French doctor couple and kept in their private residence in a modest countryside setting for nearly a century, until Sotheby’s recently reintroduced it to the public.

This marks the second time a Chánh painting has surpassed $1 million at auction. In late 2020, his artwork Les Couturières (The Seamstresses) sold for $1.39 million at Christie’s.

With its $1.09 million sale price, Les Chanteuses de Campagne is now among the top 20 most valuable Vietnamese artworks ever sold, alongside paintings by other renowned Vietnamese masters such as Lê Phổ, Mai Trung Thứ, Lê Quốc Lộc, Phạm Hậu, Tô Ngọc Vân, Nguyễn Gia Trí, Vũ Cao Đàm and Nguyễn Văn Tỵ.

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