Press Release

Sotheby's Presents Exceptional Vietnamese Masterpieces from the Madame Dothi Dumonteil Collection

By Sotheby's
Led by
Mai Trung Thu’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong
- The Largest Work by the Artist to come to Market -
- Featured in the Award-Winning Vietnamese Film The Scent of Green Papaya -
Left: Mrs. Dothi Dumonteil; Right: Mai Trung Thu’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong, oil on canvas, 1930, 135.5 x 80 cm.

This spring, Sotheby’s is proud to present a remarkable single owner grouping Les Souvenirs d’Indochine: The Madame Dothi Dumonteil Collection, which brings together four rare and exquisite works from the golden age of Vietnamese Modern art. The collection will be offered at the Modern Art Evening Sale on 18 April.

Led by Mai Trung Thu’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong, the collection features works by pioneering artists who established a new canon of Vietnamese art, elevating traditional crafts and mediums to modern forms of expression. Painted in 1930, Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong stands as one of the most significant works by the artist to ever appear at auction – an extremely rare oil painting which was one of the few pieces selected for the 1931 Exposition Coloniale Internationale in Paris, and was featured in the iconic 1993 film The Scent of Green Papaya (Mùi đu đủ xanh/L'Odeur de la papaye verte).

The collection also includes masterpieces by Vu Cao Dam and Pham Hau, each presenting an alluring mélange of French, Vietnamese and Chinese influences as well as nostalgia for Vietnam. The late Mrs. Dothi Dumonteil and her husband, Pierre Dumonteil acquired these works after Mrs. Dumonteil migrated to France as a child and established her career as a couture model for Yves Saint Laurant and co-founder of Galerie Dumonteil.

In recent years, the Vietnamese fine art market has been in the spotlight with paintings commanding higher prices and a growing number of talented artists emerging on the global stage. Since the country opened its economy in 1986, artworks by Vietnamese artists had begun to attract an international audience and Sotheby’s has played an instrumental role in increasing recognition to some of the nation’s greatest artists. In 2020, performance of works by Vietnamese artists was particularly exceptional at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, with Mai Trung Thu’s auction record being set consecutively in the Spring and Autumn sales, and works by many other artists sold for prices in multiples of their pre-sale estimates.

Les Souvenirs d’Indochine: The Madame Dothi Dumonteil Collection

Modern Art Evening Sale, 18 April 2021

Mai Trung Thu, Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong, oil on canvas, 1930, 135.5 x 80 cm. Estimate: HK$7,500,000 – 9,300,000.
Vu Cao Dam, Conversation, ink and gouache on silk, circa 1940s, 46 x 55 cm. Estimate: HK$2,000,000 – 3,000,000.
Mai Trung Thu, Lady writing a poem, ink and gouache on silk, 1943, 73 x 50.3 cm. Estimate: HK$3,200,000 – 4,000,000.
Pham Hau, View of a famous old pagoda’s landscape in North Vietnam (in 6 parts), lacquer on wood, 104.5 x 183 cm. Estimate: HK$3,200,000 – 4,000,000.

SOTHEBY’S FURTHER ELEVATES SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART ONTO THE GLOBAL STAGE

TO OFFER THE CATEGORY AS PART OF ITS MARKET-LEADING MODERN & CONTEMPORARY ART SALES

Sotheby’s announces a new direction for its offerings of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, which will now be presented as part of the Company’s market-leading Modern Art and Contemporary Art auctions in Hong Kong, further elevating the category onto the global stage. Since Sotheby’s held its first Southeast Asian Art auction in Singapore in 1996, and later in Hong Kong in 2008, the category has drawn immense interest from collectors across Asia and around the world, with sales going from strength to strength.

This strategic alignment of sales will be significant in bringing Southeast Asian Art to a wider international audience, and showcasing to great effect the cross-cultural visions and creativity of its exponents. Ms. Rishika Assomull and Ms. Michelle Yaw, Specialists of Southeast Asian Art, will continue to curate masterpieces from the region, to further strengthen Sotheby’s market leadership together with the support of the Modern Art and Contemporary Art teams in Asia and around the world.

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