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Mai Trung Thu (1906-1980) Lady Playing a Nguyet Cam

2021年11月27日 开拍 / 2021年11月25日 截止委托
拍品描述 翻译
Mai Trung Thu (1906-1980) Lady Playing a Nguyet Cam 1943signed with artist's seal and dated 1943ink and colour on silk laid on bristol board73 by 61 cm.28 6/8 by 24 in.The work is accompanied by a photo-certificate of authenticity issued by Henri Joly, dated 7 December 1943.
注脚 ProvenanceGalerie Henri Joly, ParisAcquired directly from the above by the previous owner before 1950Thence by descent to the present owner ExhibitedParis, Galerie Henri Joly, Trois Peintres Indochinois, 1943.LiteratureOlivier Quéant, Le Confort à la Campagne, Plaisir de France, no.170, May 1952, p.42, illustrated in black and white.枚中栨 (枚栨)/ 梅忠恕(梅恕)彈奏月琴的女子一九四三年作簽名:藝術家鈐印(右下)MAI THU 1943(右下)水墨設色絹本來源法國巴黎Galerie Henri Joly前任藏家於1950前得自上述畫廊現藏家繼承自上述來源展覽「Trois Peintres Indochinois」,法國巴黎 Galerie Henri Joly,1943年出版《Le Confort à la Campagne》,Olivier Quéant,Plaisir de France,第170版,1952年5月,第42頁,黑白圖Mai Trung Thu, also known as Mai Thu, is widely hailed as one of the pioneers of modern Vietnamese painting. He was among the first graduating class (1925-1930) of the prestigious école des Beaux-Arts de l'Indochine (EBAI) in colonial Hanoi. At this institute, students were encouraged by their French art instructors to experiment with Vietnamese traditional media—particularly lacquer and silk—to create artwork combining Western techniques and theories of art with local subject matter and aesthetics.1 Prior to the establishment of the EBAI, painting in Vietnam was predominantly considered a "Chinese" art form; however, the EBAI and its founder Victor Tardieu played pivotal roles in transforming lacquer and silk into modern painting materials to be used for creating fine art.2 As early as 1930, the work of the EBAI's first cohort had begun to be circulated and sold in Paris and abroad, and therefore their artwork often catered to the tastes of the métropole while striving to develop modern forms of visual expression.3 Mai Thu's style of painting is unmistakably characterised by the aforementioned eclectic and innovative approaches. Lady Playing a Nguyet Cam was acquired directly from the gallerist Henri Joly (1876-1957) in Paris by the previous owner in the 1940s. Its provenance indicates that the painting was featured together with other works by Mai Thu, Le Pho, and Vu Cao Dam in a group exhibition titled Trois Peintres Indochinois (The Three Indochinese Painters) in December 1943 at Henri Joly's gallery, formerly known as Galerie Hessel4. This may give us some insight into Mai Thu's artistic journey in Europe. Paris, the capital of the modern art world since the 19th century, attracted progressive and aspiring artists from around the world in the first half of the 20th century. Le Pho, Vu Cao Dam, and Mai Thu—later collectively known as the "Vietnamese Art Trio of Paris" 5 —also left Vietnam and settled initially in Paris during the late 1930s, hoping to grow as artists and benefit from the city's diverse arts milieu, where they could actively participate in exhibitions across various salons and galleries. Mai Thu would eventually spend more than half his lifetime in France. During his stay in Macon from 1940 to 1942, his work underwent a major change—he gave up oil on canvas and began to focus most of his career efforts on making exquisite paintings on silk, an exotic Asian material appealing to the metropolitan audience at the time. It should be noted that the indoor work of silk reeling and spinning, which requires a high level of skill, is traditionally performed by women in South China and Vietnam. Moreover, the unique quality of silk, such as its tactile softness and its receptivity to wet media creating subtle shades of colours, exudes a delicate sense of femininity as is evident in Lady Playing a Nguyet Cam.At the 1943 exhibition where this painting was presented, Mai Thu was referred to as an intimiste in recognition of his attempts to bring ordinary scenes from everyday life to the fore.6 The theme of female figures is notably a subject in its own right in the works by intimiste artists, as in Lady Playing a Nguyet Cam, whose primary focus is a graceful lady playing nguyet cam (also called dan nguyet), a two-stringed Vietnamese musical instrument which literally means "moon lute." In a fluid and lyrical manner, this painting not only blends sight and sound but also invites the viewer to experience an intimate and ephemeral moment captured in its pictorial space. This painting bespeaks Mai Thu's passion for music and his role as an accomplished musician. During his years at the ancient capital Hue from 1931 to 1937 as a high school art teacher, he mastered the bamboo flute (sao truc) and the monochord zither dan bau (doc huyen cam) native to Vietnam. After Mai Thu moved to France, he regularly performed in concerts and even recorded the album Musique du Viet-nam with the prominent Vietnamese musicologist Tran Van Khe. In an interview from 1967, Mai Thu confessed that he particularly enjoyed listening to traditional Vietnamese music while working on his paintings. 7 As such, he was ceaseless in his efforts to incorporate the elements of music and his ideas of artistic synthesis into his oeuvre. Mai Thu also employed Western formal techniques in the making of Lady Playing a Nguyet Cam. The composition of the painting seems to follow the Rule of Thirds; the lady musician—the main subject—is slightly pulled to the right side of the central division, while the other lady sitting with her back facing the viewer is situated on the left side to create a visual balance. Despite being the entry point of this painting, the lady musician is shown looking away from the viewer; at the same time, the gaze of the other lady and of the viewer falls on her. This dynamic gazing direction and the angles of both ladies' limbs create a fluid motion in the composition, allowing the viewer to follow the visual path designed by the artist and move freely around the picture without hesitation. Here, the lady musician's contemplative, detached gaze serves as an intriguing medium for communication between the viewer and the artwork, with a dreamy moon lute melody floating in the air. The everyday objects like the folding fan and the teacups delicately illustrated in the elegant interior setting of Lady Playing a Nguyet Cam are quintessentially reminiscent of pertinent Vietnamese cultural elements. The two young ladies are clad in soft flowing ao dai, conveying a sense of identity and modernity.8 Interestingly, the subdued jade green background and the white flowers in vase echo the title of the little red book placed on the traditional low table—Ngoc Hoa (玉花 jade flowers), the name of the female protagonist in the anonymous 18th-century epic poem Ngoc Hoa Co Tich Truyen. The poem tells a faithful love story of the beautiful and virtuous Ngoc Hoa and her husband Pham Tai. In the story, Ngoc Hoa not only keeps her chastity and saves her husband from the underworld but also goes on to denounce the crime of the king who killed her husband. Her acts celebrate and uphold the resilient and admirable qualities of people—especially women—who never surrender to violence and power.9 Mai Thu thoughtfully presented these objects in a new light and used them to reconstruct a space for self-expression and, to a certain extent, reassure the autonomy of the feminised arena of Vietnamese women's daily life.It is evident that Mai Thu's interest in music, photography, and film10 led him to create this transformative painting, which involves all senses and serves as an evocative performative site, imbued with visual metaphors transcending location and time. The power of Mai Thu's art derives from his eclectic artistic practice merging Western and Vietnamese styles with his unique visual sensibilities, demonstrating a mediation between his past training in colonial Vietnam and his artistic adventures in cosmopolitan Paris. Lady Playing a Nguyet Cam exemplifies his development as an iconic artist who opened a new chapter in Vietnam's modern art history.1. Nora A. Taylor, Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art, 2nd ed. (Singapore: NUS Press, 2009), 34-38. According to Taylor, the legacy of the EBAI founder Victor Tardieu was encouragement of students to develop their own sense of aesthetics and not to just imitate the great European masters. 2. With the founding of the EBAI, painting in Vietnam took on a new form during the colonial period. See Nora A. Taylor, "Orientalism/Occidentalism: The Founding of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts d'Indochine and the Politics of Painting in Colonial Vietnam, 1925-1945," Crossroads 11 (2): 3.3. Phoebe Scott, "Colonial or Cosmopolitan? Vietnamese Art in Paris in the 1930s-1940s," Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia 3, no. 2 (2019): 189. 4. Henri Joly succeeded the Belgian-born art dealer Jos Hessel (1859-1942) and ran Galerie Hessel after Hessel's passing. Galerie Hessel was located at No. 26 Rue la Boétie and later known as Galerie Joly-Hessel or Galerie Henri Joly. 5. Junko Nimura, "Adoption and Development of Popular Images in Mai Thu's Paintings: A Consideration of Modern Vietnamese Genre Painting," VERBA 43 (2020): 35. 6. Ibid., 35-6. The painters of Nabi school, significantly influenced by Japanese art and design, were positioned as intimists in the 1920s. 7. Exhibition catalogue, Ma?-Thu, Echo d'un Vietnam Rêvé (Macon, France: Musée des Ursulines, 2021): 132-8.8. The ao dai, one of the iconic symbols of Vietnam and a newly fashioned form of traditional long tunic dress created around 1923, was often worn by elite women in French colonial Vietnam. See Taylor, Painters in Hanoi, 155.9. Ngoc Hoa Co Tich Truyen is a vernacular N?m narrative poem popular in both Vietnam and Thailand; the digital version of its 1871 edition published by Thinh Van Duong publishing house can be found in the Yale University Library digital collections. 10. Mai Thu filmed two documentaries: La C


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