LE QUOC LOC (1918-1987)
LE QUOC LOC (1918-1987)
LE QUOC LOC (1918-1987)
2 More
LE QUOC LOC (1918-1987)

Paysage du Tonkin (Tonkin Landscape)

LE QUOC LOC (1918-1987)
Paysage du Tonkin (Tonkin Landscape)
incised ‘Q-LOC’ (lower right)
lacquer on panel, polyptych
each: 100 x 32 cm. (39 3/8 x 12 5/8 in.)
overall: 100 x 192 cm. (39 3/8 x 75 5/8 in.)
Executed in 1940s
Private collection, France

Brought to you by

Emmanuelle Chan
Emmanuelle Chan Associate Vice President, Specialist, Head of Day and Online Sales

Lot Essay

In the 1940s, Le Quoc Loc opened a professional workshop at 42 Lo Duc Street in Hanoi. Like many artists of his time, he offered works to the Salle des ventes de la Coopérative des Artistes Indochinois, an auction room created in 1938 by Évariste Jonchère (Victor Tardieu’s successor at the Hanoi School of Fine Arts). Joseph Inguimberty, assisted by Tran Van Can, curated and ensured the auction standards. Le Quoc Loc is often cited as a graduate of the 12th class (1938-1943) in the lacquer department of the Hanoi School of Fine Arts, which is incorrect but he was clearly immersed in the artistic movement of the School.

On the left side of the foreground in the Paysage du Tonkin (Tonkin Landscape) is depicted a Barringtonia acutangula, a flowering plant, a motif rarely represented in lacquer. Its young fresh leaves delight Vietnamese palaces. On the right, the banana trees–one massive and front-facing and the others small and off-centre—are embossed and incised with gold lacquer. These two types of trees frame the composition.

In the background, a village, a river with boats, some docked, one with a risen sail, and fields hidden by bamboo groves remind us of the power of nature, for any human beings that could have been identified would have been almost negligible. Nevertheless, the drying laundry in the village reminds us of a human presence.

In the distance, a persistent mist descends upon the scene.

The lacquer’s colours are deliberately surreal, applied with a profusion of cinnabar red for the earth and black for the water. Le Quoc Loc perfectly played with the matte and shiny finishes of lacquer, similar to Alix Aymé’s approach, who was the former student of Maurice Denis (founder of the Nabis with Paul Sérusier and Paul Gauguin). Like Aymé, Le Quoc Loc refused artistic imitation and was not afraid of colour and exaggeration. He was a creator of his own symbolism, and he advocated for animism.

Beyond that, it was in the 1940s that Le Quoc Loc’s refined his technique, and was considered one of the best technicians of Vietnamese lacquer.

Let us observe: In the fore and middle grounds, Le Quoc Loc kept to the iconic style of his time, using colour blocks and sharp lines. However, in the background, he rendered the work with translucent and gradual layers and explored the use of soft tones. The artist mixed and superimposed colours until his landscape no longer looked like a lacquer work, but almost a watercolour.

Since the world is delicate and elusive, the artist told us, we must submit to the ephemeral beauty of the moment.

Jean-François Hubert
Senior Expert, Art of Vietnam

More from 20th Century Art Day Sale

View All
View All