Born in Nghe An province in 1922, Nguyen Tu Nghiem was the last member of the École des Beaux Arts de Hanoi, the school that fostered the famous "second generation" contributors to Modern Vietnamese Paintings such as Nguyen Sang, Bui Xuan Phai, Duong Bich Lien, Huynh Van Gam, and Nguyen Sien. Gifted at a young age, Nguyen Tu Nghiem in 1944 won the prestigious First Prize of the Hanoi Salon Unique, a rare and momentous feat, given that it came before his own graduation.
The artist was influenced by his two respected professors, Jospeh Inguimberty and To Ngoc Van, who guided him towards experimenting and eventually excelling, in oil, gouache and lacquer. It was this multi-disciplinary method that honed the artist's uncanny ability to use composition, space, and technique to create realistically subtle scenes such as A Vietnamese Country's Scene.
The present Lot, dated 1943, was one of the two works exhibited at his first show. Here, Nguyen carefully plays with color and texture to depict the natural movement of a cool, summer breeze. Juxtaposed with the spatial placement of the large tree, he is able to create an almost tactile scene that invites and draws the viewer to sit and ponder in the shade of the painting itself.
Adding to the charming landscape is the pastoral backdrop of the harvest -- a simple yet essential ritual that gracefully captures the traditional lives of the Vietnamese people. A complete rarity, this oil painting was the first by a young Vietnamese artist to enter an international sale and is a prime example of the artist's versatility.