The present lot is a stunning example of the finely-honed artistry the Vietnamese artists of the MBIA had in using lacquer as a medium. Depicting a tranquil scene of a sailboat resting on a lake, with a tiny village on the river bank at the base of a soaring mountain in the background, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the profusion of golden leaves that make up the right side of the painting. In juxtaposition to the solid bulk of the dark mountain behind, the delicacy of the tiny golden leaves and willowy branches rendered brings a sense of harmonious balance to the entire work. Additionally, the seamless incorporation of human elements like the boat and the houses into the natural landscape around them suggests mankind’s harmonious co-existence nature, creating a sense of peace that one is loath to disturb.
As a collective artwork by the artists of the MBIA, this lacquer painting also speaks to the awakening of the national consciousness of Vietnam in the 20th century. The MBIA’s role in educating the pioneering generation of Vietnamese artists—not just anonymous artisans—had a transformative impact on Vietnamese art. There, the artists drew inspiration from both their classical Western training and traditional Vietnamese aesthetics to create their own distinct artistic style. By pushing the envelope on the aesthetics of traditional crafts, the artists played a key role in modernising Vietnamese art, and the present work stands as a representation of that particular zeitgeist.
The present lot is an exceptional lacquer work that highlights the beauty and radiance of the medium. With an elegant simplicity that belies the depth of artistry employed in its creation, this lacquer painting is an exquisite homage to the beauty of the Vietnamese landscape.
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