‘Tale of Kieu’ lacquer painting auctioned for 83,000 USD hinh anh 1The painting Nguyet Uoc (Promise under Moonlight). (Photo: zing.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) - The painting Nguyet Uoc (Promise under Moonlight) depicting the love between Thuy Kieu and Kim Trong in Kieu’s Tale by Nguyen Du, was auctioned at Chon’s Auction House in Hanoi on December 24 for 83,000 USD.

In the painting by Nguyen Tu Nghiem (1922 – 2016), Kim Trong and Thuy Kieu performed a vow under the moonlight, the most beautiful part of the story by Du, who lived from 1766 to 1820.

Tran Quoc Hung, auction director of Chon’s Auction House, said he hoped to contribute to building up professional market for Vietnamese fine arts by introducing high quality works with a guaranteed source.

"The amount of 83,000 USD is a high number in the Vietnamese domestic fine arts market," he said. "It proved that the collector respected the painting’s value."

The 70cm by 50cm lacquer previously belonged to private collector Phan Van Phuc.

During his career, Nghiem drew several series of lacquer paintings with simple but splendid colours on the themes of the people’s everyday lives in towns and the countryside. He creatively included the motifs of ancient dances and the image of Saint Giong, a legendary hero of ancient Vietnam, in his paintings.

He also painted illustrations for Kieu’s Tale, the masterpiece of Vietnamese literature, but these paintings haven’t been published alongside the book. Since 2015, they have been shown to the public at exhibitions.

Nghiem is one of the four master painters in the last generation of artists trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de L’Indochine (1941-1946), together with Bui Xuan Phai, Nguyen Sang and Duong Bich Lien.

Among 48 artworks auctioned at the same time, 21 sold for a total amount of 216,400 USD.

The paintings Dang Ngoc (Natural Beauty) by Nguyen Huyen and Doi Hoa (Life of Flowers) by Le Pho were auctioned at 45,000 USD and 27,000 USD, respectively.-VNA