Ideal Vietnam by Nguyên Gia Trí

On 13 January 2020, by Sophie Reyssat

A folding screen confirms the love for Nguyên Gia Trí’s lacquer landscapes.

Nguyên Gia Trí (1908-1993), village scene, six-panelled folding screen in polychrome lacquered wood, unsigned, total dimensions per panel: 99.8 x 32.7 to 32.9 cm, h. of the scene: 94.7 cm
Result: €375,000

This folding screen, which fetched €375,000, the high end of its estimate, is characteristic of Vietnamese artist Nguyên Gia Trí’s lacquer creations between 1937 and 1940, a period considered the golden age of his technique and style. Another folding screen with six panels of similar dimensions, also showing villagers, fetched €475,000 in Versailles on 30 June 2019 (Éric Pillon Enchères OVV). The price difference is because the latter is signed and dated 1938. Trained in the ancestral art of lacquer in Joseph Inguimberty’s studio at the École des beaux-arts de l’Indochine, Nguyên Gia Trí surpassed his masters’ teachings by experimenting with various ways of working with the material. Merging Western influences based on oil painting and the Vietnamese process of sanding and polishing, which creates subtle nuances, he opened up new horizons for his country’s artists. Back in France, the afternoon’s other success was Camille Claudel’s La Jeune Châtelaine (The Young Lady of the Manor), a posthumous cast with a nuanced brown patina by Deval. It fetched €108,750, more than tripling its €35,000 estimate. The sculpture depicts Marguerite Boyer, granddaughter of the owner of the Château de L’Islette, where the sculptress stayed during her sojourns in Touraine, between 1890 and 1893. This work marked a break from the influence of Rodin, from whom Claudel was separating at the time.

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