The 36th Asian Painters, Major Works auction at Aguttes, which takes place on November 28, 2022 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, features the work of artists trained at the Indochina School of Fine Arts. A forerunner in this market, Aguttes presents a remarkable lacquer work by the artist Nguyên Khang, as well as iconic paintings by Mai Trung Thứ, Alix Aymé and Lê Phô…

"After the success of the October 3 sale, totaling nearly 3 million euros, our department, a forerunner in this market, will present new major and unpublished works on November 28. The popularity of these artists on the international market was confirmed by previous sales organized by Aguttes for nearly 10 years."
Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier, Asian Painters expert

Lê Phô (1907-2001), a bridge between East and West

A major artist of the Indochina School of Fine Arts, Lê Phổ demonstrates a perfect syncretism between the traditional ink painting on silk of his native land and the impressionist influences of his adopted land, France. He was quickly noticed by Victor Tardieu, director and founder of the Indochina School of Fine Arts, and in 1931 he participated in the Colonial Exhibition in Paris, then in the Universal Exhibition in 1937. He then decided to settle in France.

Lê Phô (1907-2001)
L'illumination de Bouddha, 1947
Ink and color on silk, signed and dated lower left
86,5 x 114 cm
Estimation: 200 000 - 300 000 €

Throughout his life, the artist was inspired by traditional Vietnamese culture. L'Illumination de Bouddha is the result of a special commission from one of his very religious Buddhist friends. It is a rare subject for the artist, who created this composition in a spectacular format for his friend.

Lê Phô (1907-2001)
Jeune femme au bouquet de pivoines
Oil on canvas, signed lower right
60 x 72,6 cm
Estimation: 120 000 - 150 000 €

Soon after his arrival in France, Lê Phô discovered the work of painters such as Renoir, Monet... Captivated by Bonnard's technique, he was inspired by it and his work evolved. Jeune femme au bouquet de pivoines is a perfect example of this pictorial shift.

Nguyên Khang (1912-1989), a rare artist on the market

Born in Hanoi in 1912, Nguyen Khang worked with the greatest in the revival of modern Vietnamese art, including the lacquer technique.

Nguyên Khang (1911-1989)
Lacquer, with gold highlights, 3 panels, signed and dated lower right
61 x 60.5 cm - 61 x 61 cm - 61 x 61.5 cm
Total: 61 x 183 cm

After graduating from the Indochina School of Fine Arts in 1935, five years after Lê Phô, Nguyên Kang chose to remain in Vietnam where he became successful with his work on lacquer. His works presented for sale on the international market are rare. From this set of three lacquer panels, presented today, emanate a quietude as well as a feeling of softness. Produced three years before the artist's death, this work attests to his technical and artistic mastery.

Mai Trung Thứ (1909-1980), artist highlighted by Aguttes

The 35 previous sales organized by Aguttes have put the spotlight back on the work of Mai Trung Thứ, which has long remained under the radar. A Vietnamese painter who graduated from the Indochina School of Fine Arts, he moved to France in the late 1930s. From young girls, to settings in landscapes, Mai Trung Thứ's works pay tribute to the beauty of Vietnamese women, and the artist makes it one of his favorite subjects. The diversity of themes presented in the November 28, 2022 sale reveals several facets of his societal commitments.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980)
Jeune femme arrangeant des fleurs de lotus, 1943
Ink and colors on silk, signed and dated lower left
59.6 x 43 cm
Estimation: 350 000 - 500 000 €

The flawlessness of Jeune femme arrangeant des fleurs de lotus demonstrates the dexterity of Mai Trung Thứ, who has mastered the technique of ink on silk. Here, he highlights the elegance of an Asian woman in an interior, who is about to arrange flowers in a vase with a refined decoration.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980)
Deux enfants à la lecture, 1941
Ink and color on silk, signed and dated upper left
42.8 x 27.5 cm
Estimation: 130 000 - 160 000 €

Deux enfants à la lecture depicts the transmission of knowledge. In this 1941 painting, the artist represents studious children, absorbed in the study of a book placed on a wooden table. Both seem to be in deep thought, and by his way of representing this scene on the spot, the painter invites the viewer to enter the room and listen to the story read by one of the characters.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980)
Mélodie, 1950
Ink and color on silk, signed and dated lower left, titled and dated on back
49,8 x 61 cm
Estimation: 250 000 - 350 000 €

A musician himself, Mai Trung Thứ plays the doc-huyen, a Vietnamese single-stringed musical instrument, which he regularly incorporates into his compositions. In Mélodie, a young woman plays the dan nguyet, a moon-shaped lute.


Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980)
Jeune fille à l'éventail assise à sa table d'écriture, 1961
Ink and color on silk, signed and dated lower right. In the original frame made by the artist
28.8 x 18.8 cm
Estimation: 80 000 - 100 000 €

In Jeune fille à l'éventail assise à sa table d'écriture, the character holds a fan with a floral motif delicately open. Leaning on her table, she is reading her notes, the brushes stored in the traditionally decorated pot.

Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980)
Jeunes travailleuses, 1974
Ink and colors on silk, signed and dated upper left, titled and dated on back
65 x 27 cm
Estimation: 120 000 - 150 000 €

Concerned with the political situation in his country, Mai Trung Thứ set out to represent the Vietnamese people in their daily lives. In this work painted just one year before the end of the war in Vietnam, two young girls, dressed simply, stand, probably in the maquis. The purity of the models' features and the softness of their faces, reinforced by the freshness of the colors, give this scene a certain optimism.

Private collection Switzerland

The second part of the catalog presents a selection from the collection of a Swiss industrialist who owned factories in Vietnam at the end of the 20th century. During his numerous business trips to Hanoi and Saigon in the 1990s and 2000s, he made friends with artists whom he regularly visited in their studios. As a patron, passionate about modern and contemporary Vietnamese art, he acquired many works and enriched his personal collection.


On Monday, Novembre 28, 2022, at 2:30pm
Aguttes Neuilly

Monday, November 21 to Friday, November 25, 2022 10 am - 1 pm and 2 pm - 5:30 pm

Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier
Expert Peintres d’Asie
+33 1 41 92 06 49 -