Mai-Thu

Inventing Tradition – A Vietnamese Painter in France


Paris, Matignon

Opening on September 7, 2022 from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Inquire about the exhibition:
inquiries@alminerech.com

The gallery is open from 11 am until 7 pm.

  • L'Orage, 1958
    Ink and colors on silk
    Signed and dated lower left
    83 x 65,5 x 3,4 cm
    32 5/8 x 25 3/4 x 1 3/8 in (framed)
  • Portrait de famille, 1971
    Ink and colors on silk
    Signed and dated lower right, monogrammed, titled and dated on the back
    In the original artist's frame
    88 x 69 cm
    34 5/8 x 27 1/8 in (framed)
  • Musicienne à la guitare, 1972
    Ink and colors on silk
    Signed and dated upper left.
    In the original artist's frame
    49,5 x 29,5 x 3,5 cm
    19 1/2 x 11 5/8 x 1 3/8 in (framed)
  • Musicienne à la viole, 1972
    Ink and colors on silk
    Signed and dated upper left
    In the original artist's frame
    46 x 29,5 x 3,5 cm
    18 1/8 x 11 5/8 x 1 3/8 in (framed)
  • , La Source, 1966
    Ink and colors on silk
    Signed and dated lower right
    Dated, titled and monogrammed on the back
    In the original artist's frame
    95,3 x 72,4 x 2,8 cm
    37 1/2 x 28 1/2 x 1 1/8 in (framed)
  • , Une partie d’échec, 1961
    Signed upper right
    Ink and colors on silk
    55 x 40,1 x 2 cm - 21 5/8 x 15 3/4 x 0 3/4 in
  • , Jeune femme sur le chemin au panier de cumquats, 1941
    Signed lower left, stamped with the seal of the artist Ink and gouache on silk
    46 x 26 cm - 18 1/2 x 10 1/2 in (unframed)
  • , Portrait de Mme N., 1975
    Signed lower left, stamped with the seal of the artist Ink and gouache on silk
    46 x 30 cm - 18 1/2 x 12 in (unframed)
  • , Le balcon, 1941
    Signed upper right, stamped with the artist's seal Ink and gouache on silk
    41.8 x 27.4 cm - 16 1/2 x 11 in (unframed)
  • , Femme aux coussins, 1966
    Signed lower right. Titled on the back
    In its original frame realized by the artist Ink and colors on silk
    38,6 x 52,8 x 2 cm - 15 1/4 x 20 3/4 x 0 3/4 in
  • , Jeune femme couchée, 1964
    Signed upper right, stamped with the artist's seal Ink and gouache on silk in the artist’s original frame
    35 x 48 cm - 14 x 19 in
  • , Costume de Fête, 1941
    Signed and dated lower right, stamped with the artist's seal
    ink and gouache on silk
    60.5 x 41 cm
    24 x 16 1/2 in
  • , Deux Soeurs, 1961
    Signed upper left, stamped with the artist's seal Ink and gouache on silk in the artist’s original frame
    43.7 x 31.1 x 2 cm - 17 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 1 in
  • Mère et Enfant, 1969
    Signed lower right, stamped with the artist's seal Ink and gouache on silk in the artist’s original frame
    50 x 33 x 2 cm - 19 1/2 x 13 x 1 in
  • , La Mère et enfant, tunique blanche, 1969
    Signed upper left, stamped stamped with the seal of the artist Ink and gouache on silk
    35 x 19 cm - 13 3/4 x 7 1/2 in (unframed)
    49 x 30 cm - 19 1/2 x 12 in (framed)
  • , La Rencontre, 1974
    Signed lower left, stamped with the artist's seal
    In its original frame made by the artist ink and watercolor on silk
    42 x 22 cm - 16 1/2 x 8 1/2 in
  • , Désolation, 1975
    Oil on canvas
    94 x 66 cm
    37 1/2 x 26 in
  • Petite Fille au livre
  • , Petite Fille en Costume de Fête, 1970
    Signed lower left, stamped with the artist's seal In its original frame made by the artist
    39.4 x 28.1 cm - 15 1/2 x 11 1/2 in
  • , Costumes de Fête, 1963
    Signed upper right, stamped with the artist's seal. In its original frame made by the artist. Ink and gouache on silk
    91 x 41.5 cm - 36 x 16 1/2 in
  • , Les Enfants en prière, 1963
    Signed lower left. Stamped with the artist's seal. In its original frame made by the artist Ink and colors on silk
    38.5 x 85.5 cm - 15 1/2 x 33 1/2 in
  • , Mélancolie, 1070
    Stamped with the artist's seal
    ink and gouache on silk
    40 x 27 x 2.7 cm
    16 x 10 1/2 x 1 1/2 in
  • , Collier de Jade , 1972
    Signed upper left, stamped with the artist's seal Ink and gouache on silk
    40 x 27 x 2.7 cm - 16 x 10 1/2 x 1 1/2 in

Press release

Mai-Thu (1906-1980) is one of the pioneers of modern Vietnamese painting. Born in Indochina during the French Colonization, he studied at the Fine Arts College of Indochina in Hanoi, graduating in its first class in 1930.
In addition to mastering classical Western techniques of drawing and oil painting, he was skilled in figurative painting on silk and in various styles of Chinese painting.
Seeking a new artistic expression that would be specifically Vietnamese, he gradually perfected a visual language after permanently settling in France in 1937. Through encounters with master painters of the European tradition, particularly Renaissance painters, Mai-Thu performed a subtle synthesis between Western and Vietnamese motifs. His pared-down images respond to an ideal of gentleness and balance that led him to be considered the most traditional of Vietnamese artists. Yet this universe, constructed from various references, is unique to him. He invented an original style of painting that authentically expresses the essence of Vietnam.

Since the 1990s, Mai-Thu is increasingly sought-after among collectors, including Vietnamese collectors in search of their artistic past. As the artist’s popularity has continued to grow in recent years, his work is familiar to auction-goers but remains unfamiliar to the general public. Rarely seen outside of auction, Mai-Thu’s paintings are only held in a few museum and private collections.

Today, Almine Rech offers a representative group of thirty artworks from the personal collections of members of the artist’s family. This selection covers the period from 1941 to 1976, reflecting an essential part of the artist’s French career. Through his favorite themes — women, children, family, tradition — the exhibition includes some works with many characteristic elements of Mai-Thu’s style, which constantly evolved throughout his career. The artist was also very engaged for Peace and produced many paintings during the devastating period of Vietnam War until the end of it and the final reunification of North and South Vietnam (La Rencontre, 1974).

— Anne Fort, Heritage Conservator
Co-author of the exhibition catalogue Mai-Thu, Echo dun Vietnam Rêvé, 2021
[Mai-Thu, Echoes of a Dreamed Vietnam, 2021]


Selected press