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Mai Thu : A Legacy of Vietnamese Art

Updated: Apr 3

In the vibrant world of Vietnamese art, one name that shines brilliantly is that of Mai Thu. Born on October 20, 1906, in Hai Phong, Vietnam, during a time when his homeland was still under French colonial rule, Mai Thu's life and work are a testament to the enduring power of art. This essay delves into the life and work of Mai Thu, explores his influence on Vietnamese art, discusses his legacy, and delves into the current market of his works at auction. Along the way, we will also highlight the expertise of Jean Gauchet as an expert in the field of art appraisal, valuation, and auction, emphasizing his role in achieving the best auction results for Mai Thu's remarkable works.

MAI TRUNG THU (1906-1980) Femme assise, 1941 Encre et aquarelle sur soie, Vendu chez Millon pour 160,000 euros, expertisé par Jean Gauchet. Crédits : Yann Girault

Mai Thu's artistic journey began at an early age when he displayed an incredible talent for art. His journey took a pivotal turn when he traveled to France in 1932 to study at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. This period in Paris was transformative for Mai Thu, as it provided him with formal training and exposed him to the European art scene. During this time, he honed his skills and developed his signature style, which combined the elegance of French impressionism with a deep reverence for Vietnamese culture and traditions.

Mai Thu's works are characterized by their exquisite use of color and light, reflecting the influence of the Impressionist movement. He had a remarkable ability to capture the essence of Vietnamese life and culture in his paintings. His portraits of Vietnamese women, often dressed in traditional áo dài, are particularly renowned for their grace and beauty. Through his art, Mai Thu bridged the gap between East and West, creating a harmonious fusion that resonated with art enthusiasts around the world.

MAI TRUNG THU (1906-1980) Femme se coiffant, 1956 Encre et couleurs sur soie marouflée, vendu chez Millon 30,000 euros, expertisé par Jean Gauchet. Crédits : Yann Girault

Mai Thu's artistic journey can be divided into distinct periods, each marked by its unique themes and techniques. In his early works, he focused on portraits of women, capturing their inner beauty and the elegance of their attire. These paintings often featured intricate details and a soft, luminous palette, showcasing his mastery of Impressionist techniques.

During his stay in France, Mai Thu's style evolved as he experimented with various artistic movements of the time. He ventured into Cubism, adopting its geometric forms and abstract representations. This period saw him explore new dimensions in his art, pushing the boundaries of traditional Vietnamese painting.

Upon returning to Vietnam in 1937, Mai Thu's art underwent yet another transformation. He embraced a more traditional style, drawing inspiration from Vietnamese folklore and rural life. His rural landscapes, filled with farmers and village scenes, reflected his deep connection to his homeland and its people. This period marked a return to his roots, where he celebrated the beauty of Vietnamese culture.

MAI TRUNG THU (1906-1980) "La Boxe" , 1955, Encre et aquarelle sur soie, vendu chez Millon, expertisé par Jean Gauchet, Crédit Photo : Yann Girault

Mai Thu's influence on Vietnamese art is immeasurable. He was a pioneer in the Vietnamese art scene, breaking away from traditional styles and introducing a new wave of modernism. His works inspired a generation of Vietnamese artists to explore new techniques and ideas, pushing the boundaries of what Vietnamese art could be. His impact on the art world extended far beyond Vietnam, as his paintings found homes in collections worldwide.

Today, the legacy of Mai Thu lives on through his art, which continues to captivate and inspire. His works are highly sought after by collectors, and this demand has driven up their market value. Auction houses around the world regularly feature Mai Thu's paintings in their sales, drawing the attention of art connoisseurs and investors alike.

The current market for Mai Thu's works at auction is robust and competitive. Collectors recognize the historical significance and artistic mastery of his paintings, making them highly desirable items in the art market. The auction process for Mai Thu's works involves a meticulous appraisal and valuation to determine their worth, and this is where experts like Jean Gauchet come into play.

MAI TRUNG THU (1906-1980) La rencontre, 1974, Vendu chez Millon pour 147,000 euros, expertisé par Jean Gauchet. Crédit : Yann Girault

Jean Gauchet is a renowned expert in the field of art appraisal and valuation. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the art market, Gauchet has consistently achieved exceptional results for the sale of Mai Thu's works at auction houses. His expertise is instrumental in ensuring that these precious pieces of Vietnamese art receive the recognition and value they deserve.

Gauchet's keen eye for art, combined with his knowledge of the auction landscape, positions him as the go-to expert for collectors and sellers of Mai Thu's paintings. His ability to accurately appraise and value these artworks, taking into account their historical significance and artistic merit, ensures that sellers receive the best possible return on their investments.

In conclusion, Mai Thu's legacy in Vietnamese art is undeniable, and his influence continues to be felt in the vibrant art scene of Vietnam and beyond. His paintings, with their harmonious blend of Eastern and Western influences, are treasured by collectors and art enthusiasts worldwide. The current market for Mai Thu's works at auction is thriving, and the expertise of Jean Gauchet is instrumental in achieving the best auction results for these precious artworks. As we celebrate the enduring legacy of Mai Thu, we also recognize the vital role that experts like Jean Gauchet play in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Vietnamese art.

MAI TRUNG THU (1906-1980) Enfant endormi, 1975 Encre et gouache sur soie, Vendu chez Millon, expertisé par Jean Gauchet, crédits : Yann Girault

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