Online-only sale features paintings of women across Southeast Asian cultures

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Online-only sale features paintings of women across Southeast Asian cultures
Alix Aymé (French, 1894-1989), Hanoi, circa 1925-26, oil on wood panel, 41 x 30 cm. Estimate: HK$ 120,000 - 160,000. Photo: Bonhams.

HONG KONG.- Bonhams’ online-only fine Southeast Asian arts sale – Ritual + Culture Online – will be open for bidding between 3 and 22 April 2020. The sale features more than thirty 20th century paintings, celebrating the diverse cultures and distinctive rituals in Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Vietnam and Burma.

Among the highlights is a curated group of paintings depicting the mesmerising beauty of women in Southeast Asia, as well as the crucial roles they play in society.

This group of works is led by Hanoi (pictured front) by French artist Alix Aymé, who had travelled in and painted extensively in Asia. The painting features a classic street scene with a Vietnamese mother strolling along a path, her baby nestled by her hips, as the city Hanoi – depicted by Aymé as a verdant sub-tropical paradise – comes into spring. Created in the 1920s during the artist’s first sojourn in Vietnam, Hanoi is one of her earliest paintings and a rare oil-on-panel example to come to the market.

Through the lens of cultural insiders, Nguyen Trung and Boi Tran both draw inspiration from women wearing the elegant Vietnamese gown, the ao dai, which pays tribute to the beauty and grace of generations of ladies in Vietnam. A similar penchant for the subject is also seen in Burmese modern painter U Lun Gywe, whose Bathing by the Riverside perfectly encapsulates the artist’s impressionist style.

Other highlights of the sale include:

• A private collection of rare-to-market works by Antonio Blanco, a Filipino-born Balinese painter of Spanish descent. Hailing directly from John Chirgwin – both a collector, an art patron and Blanco’s close friend – in the 1970s, the collection comprises the artist’s figurative paintings and exquisite poems, revealing his immense passion and pride for his adopted home of Bali.

• Religion features strongly in Southeast Asian modern art. Affandi's Ka'abah and Widayat's Adam and Eve In Paradise reflect how religious beliefs in the Indonesian archipelago co-exist in harmony. The two artists both worked and lived in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and celebrated a strong friendship despite differing artistic and religious viewpoints.

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