Two worlds will come together in Nîmes: those of Vietnamese painter Mai-Thu and contemporary artist Claude Viallat, who was born in the Roman city.
Mai Trung Thu, aka Mai-Thu (1906–1980), Untitled, two inks and colors on silk, signed and dated 1966, 20 x 8.5 cm/7.87 x 3.34 in.
Estimate: €15,000/20,000 each
The current success of Mai-Thu’s works in the market means that, like these two small ink and color paintings on silk dated 1966 from a local collection, they can be found everywhere in France. All of the Vietnamese artist’s hallmarks are in evidence here: his gentle, poetic technique combining Asian silk painting with Western themes, graceful female figures and frames he made himself. These two sensitive, intimate little gems will undoubtedly win collectors’ hearts.
Claude Viallat’s works are in a different vein. Born 1936 in Nîmes, he studied at the Montpellier School of Fine Arts from 1955 to 1959 before transferring to the Paris institution. In 1966, less than three years after graduating, he made the first works featuring his signature imprints—neutral forms, neither natural nor geometric, repeated on rolls of stretcherless canvas and, soon afterward, on a wide variety of supports, including oval cardboard (acrylic, diameter 70 cm/27.56 in), estimated €2,000/3,000. A drawing he made on a sack of wheat will also be offered at €1,000/1,500 (100 x 60 cm/39.37 x 23.62 in). Viallat’s experiments made him a founder of the Support/Surface group in 1969. The Nîmes auction house has recently posted good results for his works, such as €40,000 for a large acrylic on canvas (269 x 196.5 cm/105.90 x 77.36 in) in March.