This work is accompanied by a black & white vintage photograph of the sitter and two original speeches written by the French General Governor of Indochina, Mr. René Robin.
Le Thi Luu, was born in 1911 in the province of Bac Ninh, it was uncommon for a young lady to study the art of nudity at École des Beaux Arts, especially under the traditions of Confucianism during the era. Granted winner graduate of 1932, she was recognized as the first woman artist to become a member of the Modern History of Vietnamese Paintings. A vigorous artist she was, Luu wrote poetries, articles for the avant-garde reviews, and became a professor of drawing in Vietnam's reputable institutions.
In 1934, Luu gained her reputation and was offered a unique official order from a political reformist Monsieur René Robin – the French Governor of Indochina to paint his wife, Madame Hélène Robin. The present Lot, Portrait de Madame Gouverneur Général (circa 1934) marked the first oil painting by a Vietnamese artist to be exposed internationally.
The portrait adopts a hieratique posture, a well-balanced classical composition posed by the sitter on a French Ormoulu Louis XVI armchair in front of a light-grey velvet curtain, capturing a radiant ease of the light and oil pigments on the canvas as a finishing result. The savoir faire shade depicts a sober yet elegant silk satin rose dress, juxtaposing harmoniously against the red velvet chair. The technique used on Madame Robin's skin and jewels reveals the artist's cunning technique for oil painting, which was influenced by the West to Vietnam.
As most artist worked with silk paintings, Luu favored working with oil – presenting a more distinctive result. However, in spite of her frail health, the artist only produced limited amount of works, thus creating her paintings a rare collection.
Le Thi Luu resided in France in 1940 and continued to paint with precision, and had participated in several official and private exhibitions. The first Vietnamese Women Artist of the Modern Era, will continue to be respected in the history of Modern Vietnamese paintings.
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