Vietnam’s art market grows, needing transparency

After one year of establishment, auction houses Chon’s in Hanoi and Ly Thi in Ho Chi Minh City have really been helpful for Vietnam’s art market to go through “pubescent” and grow up.

Vietnam’s art market grows, needing transparency

Within past 20 years, international art experts assessed that Vietnamese art was very promising, however, it must grow up one day.
During the twelfth auction themed “Chon’s dawn” in the end of April, lacquer painting named Thac Bo (Waterfall) of artist Nguyen Huyen was proposed at $120,000. Collector Nguyen Phan Huy bought the painting as he offered $280,000 (VND6.4 billion). This is the highest price at a public auction in the local auction house while secret deals are believed to take place sometimes.
Leading expert on Vietnamese paintings Wang Zineng said that Vietnamese art has been well-known in the globe since 2014.
At an auction on May 11, 2016 named “ Beautiful souvenir”, 90 percent of a Vietnamese painting collection comprising of 70 works were sold worth more than US$4 million, he said.
In his essay on the Vietnam’s art market in middle of 2017, art researcher Nguyen Dinh Thanh wrote “In 2013, for the very first time the globe’s art market collected EUR 1 billion and EUR1.5 billion in 2014 up tenfold during ten years. The ancient item market also reached EUR1.126 billion as per the website
World art market developed with continuous changes. China and Asian countries are becoming interesting places for art collectors and investors in the world. Total sale of artistic works exceeded $500 million annually. Some artists are listed as highest incomers in the world. One hundred artists have earned EUR1 billion within 12 months while they netted EUR102 million in 2004.
According to the above-mentioned website, Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi made nearly EUR60 million through auctions in 2014. For instance, his painting “Last meal” was sold at EUR15.1 million in October, 2013.
In the trend of the painting price increase, some paintings of alive and passed-away artists have been sold at over US$1 million each, also bringing benefit to Vietnamese artists. For instance, on November 22, 2014, Christie’s in Hong Kong sold oil painting “ Nhin tu tren doi” (View from the Hilltop) of Vietnamese artist Le Pho at $844,697- highest at that time. This record broke the Nguyen Phan Chan’s painting named “ Nguoi ban trau cau” (La Vendeuse De Bétel ) at $409,393 in the same auction session.
Several years later, on April 2, 2017, Sotheby auction house in Hong Kong sold “ Doi song gia dinh “ (Family Life) by Vietnamese artist Le Pho in the period 1937-1939 for US$1,172,080, setting a new record for Vietnam’s most expensive painting ever sold.
Some Vietnamese artists Le Quang Ha, Le Kinh tai, Bui Huu Hung, Bui Cong Khanh, Pham An Hai An are well-known in the world market because their works were sold at high prices with some being worth over VND 1 billion, VND 2 billion and VND 5 billion ($43,915; $87,831; $219,579).
It is expected that in the next few years contemporary Vietnamese artists will definitely able to sell their painting at US$ 1 million .
From 1986 to 1996, just sellers (artists) and buyers made deals of painting. After the US lifted the trade embargo against Vietnam, auction houses have become familiar with Vietnamese artists.
Before 2000, representatives of famous auction houses in the world such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s arrived in the country, starting to look for information and promote trade.
The government's attention to the field is needed, said art researcher Nguyen Dinh Thanh. He took example of the Philippines. The Philippine government has paid much attention to the matter; as a result, two Filipino artists are listed in the world’s 500 most famous contemporary artists and one of them ranked 76th of 500 most worth artists in 2014.
Therefore, Mr. Thanh proposed the Vietnamese government to issue regulations on transparency of the domestic art market, encouragement and protection of artists, anti- tax evasion…

By HIEN HOA – Translated by UYEN PHUONG

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