Veteran artist Nguyen Thu has called for help because a French auction house sold a painting under his name, according to fine arts researcher Ngo Kim Khoi.
Lacquer painting Thuyền Buồm Dưới Ánh Trăng was auctioned at Aguttes, Paris under the name of artist Nguyễn Thụ. Photo online.aguttes.com
Based in Paris, Khôi recently received two photos and a video clip from Thụ asking him to raise awareness among collectors about the situation.
France-based Aguttes recently posted a lacquer painting entitled Thuyền Buồm Dưới Ánh Trăng (Sailing Boat under Moonlight) as part of lot 36, NGUYEN Thu (1930) on an online auction. It was sold for 400 euro.
"The rising number of fake paintings has impacted the price of Vietnamese works," said Khôi.
"Most cases of fake paintings are by Vietnamese people. Vietnamese painters copy those by famous artists from the Indochina Fine Arts School and put them in galleries in France.
"Vietnamese collectors think that the paintings in France have been verified and buy them. Meanwhile, the relationship among the galleries, forgers and brokers is very complicated. I think collectors should be careful."
Thụ's daughter Yên Quang also asked Khôi to confirm that her father doesn't make lacquer paintings and all his paintings are silk.
"Auction houses in France do not know Vietnamese names and tones. Probably they saw the signature NgThu and tried to find an artist whose name is the same. They could have automatically attached the name to the painting without verification," Yên Quang said.
In June 2018, the name Nguyễn Thụ was also attached to a lacquer painting entitled Gánh Hàng Hoa (Bear Flowers) at an auction at Lynda Trouve, Drouot, Paris.
Artist Thụ is among 15 students from the Việt Nam Fine Arts University from 1957-1962. After graduation, he taught and was head of the university from 1985 to 1991.
Thụ was charmed by silk painting because he found the medium gentle and romantic and suited him. He is one of the few artists who have devoted their lives to silk painting and made a deep impression on this kind of painting.
Paintings by Thụ go for high prices in Việt Nam, according to fine arts researcher Phạm Long.
"His small paintings go for thousands of dollars," said Long. "He is a talented artist."
Long also said that Vietnamese paintings in Europe are not controlled. Auction houses are not deliberately selling fake paintings, but they don't verify the origin. The collector should know about the original, said Long. — VNS