Lot n° 7
80000 - 120000
Result with fees
: 156 000EUR
Alix AYMÉ (1894-1989)
49 1/4 x 78 3/4 in.
Collection privée, France
While staying in Japan in 1928, the artist, who had been living in Hanoi for seven years, discovered such a passion for lacquer that she specialised in the technique from then on. When she and Inguimberty introduced the art of lacquering to the School in 1934, her works reflected a strong Art Deco influence. She borrowed the backgrounds and broad flat tints in gold from Japanese lacquers, traditional subjects from Indochinese lacquers, and modernity from the West, creating a sublime and perfect symbiosis. This lacquer is a marvellous depiction of the Vietnam idealised and adored by the artist, showing her vision of the earthly paradise. Like Gauguin who found inspiration in Tahiti, Alix Aymé’s art blossomed on her contact with Asia. The slender, dream-like forms of young women emerge from the golden tones of the lacquer with poetic constraint. The viewer is immersed in a delicate vision, soothed, protected and comforted by luxuriant, abundant vegetation that leaves no room for the sky or any intruders.
Alix Aymé was born on 21 March 1894 in Marseille. In 1909, she entered the Toulouse music conservatory. In 1916, she attended an English boarding school, then went to Paris, where she studied with Desvallière and above all her mentor, Maurice Denis, a member of the Nabi group, with whom she collaborated on the interior design of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. She worked with her friend Valentine Reyre in Maurice Denis’ Studios of Sacred Art, and illustrated several books a with a large number of engravings.
In 1920, she married Paul de Fautereau-Vassel, a teacher recently appointed at the Franco-Chinese mission in Shanghai. They set off to China, then moved in 1921 to Hanoi, where she taught drawing at the city’s technical high school. At the same time she sent works back to France, which were exhibited at salons and the Colonial Exhibition. In 1926 she gave birth to her first son, Michel. She also illustrated a luxury edition of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim using sketches done in Ceylon. She and her husband separated in 1928.
During the same period, she had several consecutive exhibitions in Hanoi and travelled extensively in Asia. She produced woodcut illustrations for the Book of Job and Cazotte’s Le diable amoureux, and also exhibited in France at the Société Coloniale des Artistes Français.
In 1930, the government tasked her with finding a location in Laos for the Colonial Exhibition of 1931. She was totally enchanted by the country, and painted some forty pictures to decorate the Laos Pavilion at the exhibition. She lived in Luang-Prabang, and became friends with the royal family, who commissioned a huge decorative piece from her (over 100 m2), illustrating the traditions of Vietnam, for the reception hall of the royal palace
She travelled in Upper Laos and the Yunnan region in China, from which she brought back numerous drawings and paintings, and studied the art of lacquer in Japan. On her return to Vietnam, she was appointed teacher at the Albert Saraute lycée alongside Inguimberty, under Victor Tardieu, to teach the lacquering technique, in which she now specialised.
In Paris, in 1931, she married her second husband Georges Aymé, brother of the writer Marcel Aymé. Maurice Denis and Valentine Reyre were their witnesses. At this period, she also took an active part in the Colonial Exhibition, where her work was on show. On her return to Asia, while continuing to teach, she travelled in Korea, Japan, Cambodia and Laos. She embraced new techniques like etching, painting on silk with the application of gold, watercolours, black ink, reverse glass painting, tempera and above all, her beloved lacquering.
However, she remained in contact with France and regularly sent back works, which were exhibited in various salons (the Salon des Artistes Français, the Salon d’Hiver and the Salon des Décorateurs) as well as in galleries. On her return to France at the start of the war in 1939, she followed General Aymé to Djibouti, then to Hanoi; where she had a tragic experience of the Japanese occupation during the war. After the Japanese seized the country by force on 9 March 1945, the couple were imprisoned in appalling conditions until Japan capitulated in August 1945.
They returned to live permanently in Paris, where General Aymé died in 1950 as a result of his treatment in captivity
After this, she received a commission for a set of large lacquer panels for the Antilles, the transatlantic liner, and exhibited frequently in Paris and the provinces as well as in Morocco, Italy and Algeria. She created a Stations of the Cross series in lacquered wood for the Chapel of Notre-Dame de la Délivrance in Douvres (Calvados), and decorated Emperor Boa-Dai’s apartment.
A friend of Foujita and Saint-Exupéry,
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