Nguyen Gia Tri is regarded as the most famous artist working in the medium of lacquer in Vietnamese painting. He assumes this position despite the fact that he was also at the same time a nationalist, but unlike other artists who succumbed to the triviality of ideology, Nguyen Gia Tri also sought his calling in art. His whole life was spent in the pursuit of excellence in the medium of lacquer, right from the time of his graduation, and he was particularly interested in techniques and expanding the visual potential of working with lacquer.
The two lacquers presented here in this sale testify to this. The original composition and the whole range of materials used in The Farmers (Lot 486) demonstrate an artistic inclination towards innovation. The gold foil used to render the presence of the farmers is a masterstroke in figurative painting and what is especially interesting is the creation of a misty, nearly abstract environment in which the presence and labour of the two farmers is emphasized. Abstract Composition (Lot 484) is a rare piece favoring a subtle layered composition, taking delight in the pure chemistry of colours to create a dazzling chromatic field. Be it in the pure abstraction or in the visualization of a Vietnamese peasant in everyday life, Nguyen Gia Tri is able to find a way to express different facades of the Vietnamese soul.
Jean-François Hubert (Senior Consultant, Vietnamese Art)