It seems to be true that sales of Vietnamese art regularly achieve excellent results, setting ever more new records.
Le Quoc Loc (1918-1987), Paysage de Phnom Penh (Landscape in Phnom Penh), 1943, eight-leaf wooden screen with polychrome lacquered decoration in light relief, 199 x 396 cm/78.3 x 156 in.
A hat trick! After selling two works by Le Quoc Loc on November 3, 2020 (€357,500) and then on May 4 (€260,000), Millon put one more of the artist's screens up for sale. And though another fine result was expected, one that soared to such heights certainly wasn't anticipated. Painted in 1943 in red and gold polychrome lacquer, the colors of the Vietnamese flag (reflecting the artist's revolutionary commitment to the Vietminh) this eight-panel screen depicts the peaceful life of Phnom Penh in light relief.
This is an ambitious composition painted with considerable skill, with temples, monks and young women praying, all set in the lush vegetation of Southeast Asia—the palm-filled landscapes the master loved so much. The fact that the scene is set in Cambodia, a place rarely treated by Vietnamese artists of the period, perhaps further adds to its powerful appeal. The large work (199 x 400 cm/78.3 x 157 in) fetched €1,222,000, setting a world record for its creator (source: Artnet). And Paris yet again proved Hong Kong's equal in terms of Vietnamese lacquerware, as the latest high prices have been achieved in its market.
Pham Hau (1903-1995) has also notched up a string of successes. Another great master in lacquer—a technique that has garnered him his own share of auction records—he expressed himself as a true painter, with a touching simplicity and economy of means. This was illustrated by an ink and watercolor on silk of a young girl with a black shawl against a green background (31 x 45 cm/12.2 x 17.7 in), whose piercing gaze attracted €188,500.