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Masterpiece lacquer painting auctioned for record 280,000 USD

From a starting bid of 120,000 USD, the lacquer painting titled Thac Bo (Bo Waterfall) by Nguyen Huyen (1915-94) was sold for 280,000 USD at a recent auction in Hanoi.

It sets the record for the highest price paid for art at an auction in the country, according to Chon’s Auction House.

Experts acknowledged that Thac Bo was a masterpiece of Vietnamese lacquer art with an intrinsic investment value that contained hidden symbols related to ancient national history and was a reflection of the impact of fine arts development in the country.

“In my opinion, the economic value of the painting will only increase with time,” said art expert Tran Quoc Hung.

“The painting contains typical features of a lacquer artwork: flatness, shine, clarity and depth. Huyen created it at the age of 42 when he was mature and experienced in art thinking. Though the painting is primarily about landscape, it still reflects Vietnamese culture through symbols such as dragon boat, statue of Mother Nature, golden river with patterns inspired by Phung Nguyen culture (2,000-1,500 BC) and bamboo forest,” Hung said.

Huyen’s son, Nguyen Gia Luong, inherited the painting which he had sold to a collector in Hanoi. Businessman Nguyen Phan Huy Khoi bought the painting at the auction.