Lot n° 10
180000 - 250000
Result with fees
: 462 960EUR
MAI trung THU (1906-1980)
L’ école, 1953
Ink and color on silk, signed and dated lower
left. In the original frame made by the artist.
Born in 1906 near Haiphong, Mai Trung Thứ attended the French high-school in Hanoi. Like Lê Phổ, Vũ Cao Đàm and Le Van De, he was in the first year of students at the École des Beaux-Arts d’Indochine, founded and directed by the painter Victor Tardieu. Invited to take part in the 1931 Paris Colonial Exhibition, Mai Trung Thứ discovered and fell in love with France, where he settled in the late 30’s and stayed until he died. Although strongly influenced by the teachings of Tardieu and Joseph Inguimberty, he is the one of his comrades who retained the deepest-rooted sense of Vietnamese identity. He soon abandoned oils for gouache and ink on silk: typical Asian techniques that enabled him to develop a style richly reminiscent of traditional Chinese and Vietnamese art. Although an independent artist, he remained politically committed and concerned about the future of his country
A patriotic artist who is proud of his ori - gins, Mai Trung Thứ has never ceased to pay homage to Vietnam through the rep - resentation of characters evoking his native country: a young woman with Asian canons, children playing Co Tuong, a family in tradi - tional dress... The piece presented for sale is composed of five children and an old man. The old man leaning against a cushion is sitting cross-legged on a carpet. Dressed in a traditional outfit, he holds a rolled doc - ument. The children, four boys and one girl, are gathered around this man. Leaning over their notebooks, a soft agitation dominates the scene. Only one little boy does not take part in this effervescence and discreetly observes his classmates behind a pillar. Thanks to characteristic characters and a cleverly studied staging, Mai Trung Thứ, immortalizes his school memories.
The transmission of knowledge is a primordial element in Asian culture. This quest for knowledge echoes the indelible mark left by Confucius (551-479), the Chinese philosopher who founded the first private school in China. According to him, man’s perfectibility allows him to improve continuously. Discovery is essential and must be shared with others. It is this sharing of knowledge that allows to shape a man capable of serving the community from a political point of view but also capable of being a good man from a moral point of view. If knowledge is essential in Confucianism, it is inseparable from the interaction between others which it must demonstrate.
Although born in China, the values defended by Confucius developed in Vietnam. As a country dominated by Chinese conquests, the influences of the Middle Kingdom have not ceased to seek integration in Vietnam. If Confucianism was initially developed thanks to the analysts, writers and poets of the 13th century, it especially took root under the Le dynasty (1428-1788) with the abandonment of aristocracy in favor of bureaucracy. Confucianism then became the official doctrine until 1945, when the Nguyễn dynasty (1802-1945) ceded its powers to the government of the Democratic Republic. While L’École was completed in 1953, the influences of Confucius still permeate traditional Vietnamese values. Mai Trung Thứ thus illustrates the importance of exchange and sharing knowledge through the bond between the old man and the children. Exhibited during the artist’s retrospective in Mâcon in 2021, this work perpetuates the representation of these values, several years after the artist’s death.
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