Gazette Drouot logo print
Lot n° 7

MAI TRUNG THỨ (1906-1980)

Estimate :
Subscribers only

Portrait de Madame Nguyễn Nguyệt Nga, 1950 Ink and color of silk, signed and dated upper left 61 x 46 cm - 12 1/2 x 18 1/8 in. COLLECTION DE MONSIEUR NGUYỄN HỮU HỢP ET MADAME NGUYỄN NGUYỆT NGA In the mid-twentieth century, Nguyễn Hữu Hợp and his wife Nguyễn Nguyệt Nga were a notable couple close to the imperial family, in particular Bảo Đại, the last emperor of Vietnam. From 1948 onwards, they lived between France and Hanoi, evolving in an intellectual, artistic and social circle, frequenting Vietnamese artists Mai Trung Thứ, Vũ Cao Đàm and Lê Thị Lựu and her husband Ngô Thế Tân. Keen to support these artists in their work, they commissioned several portraits from them, which have remained in the family collection to this day. Portrait de Madame Nguyễn Nguyệt Nga is a testament to the beauty and richness of a distinctive style that combines Western and Vietnamese influences, gracefully capturing everyday life and human emotions. Mai Trung Thứ’s 1950 portrait of Madame Nguyễn Nguyệt Nga, for example, was created with the utmost care. It was a commissioned portrait, an unusual exercise for the artist. The work is imbued with great sensitivity, expressing feminine gentleness and beauty in all its simplicity. The woman is depicted in a carefully decorated interior, posed with the elegance befitting her social status. She is seated on a stool, arms and legs crossed, holding a booklet in her hand. The refinement of her outfit is matched only by the finesse of the decoration adorning the carpet, or that of the ravishing pointed slipper. Her hand, delicately crossed over her mauve-toned ao-daï over white pants, is adorned with a beautiful diamond, a rare detail in the artist’s work. Her graceful neck is adorned with a necklace of jade pearls. Behind her, on a dresser, a vase of flowering branches and two books. The choice of colors creates a warm, evocative atmosphere, transporting the viewer into a moment of calm and tranquility. The woman’s hair is delicately pulled back into a bun, her lips are made up with red make-up and her posture epitomizes the elegance and refinement of Vietnamese high society.