Sotheby's Auction of Southeast Asian Paintings held on October 12, 2003 at the Regent Singapore totaled S$7,196,020 with 150 lots sold. Several auction records were fetched including the most expensive Vietnamese painting sold at auction, record for works by Vietnamese artists Le Pho, Luong Xuan Nhi, Vu Cao Dam, Indonesian artists Widayat and But Mochtar.
Two oil paintings, 'A Small Market in Indonesia' and 'Houses in Jiangnan' by contemporary Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong are the two most expensive paintings sold at auction. Both paintings were sold for S$350,400 each and the proceeds will benefit Art Retreat, a private museum in Singapore.
Estimated at $$120,000-140,000, Le Pho's Mother and Child was sold for a record breaking S$283,200. Considered as a masterpiece of modern Vietnamese art, this work demonstrates the master of technique with its opacity and brilliance in colour, the richness and complexity of its theme in religion, filial piety and hope. This is the new auction record for Vietnamese paintings at auction as well as a record for works by the artist.
Besides Le Pho's work, other Vietnamese artists such as Vu Cao Dam and Luong Xuan Nhi also set new records for their works at auction. Vu Cao Dam's 'Mother and Child' was sold for S$55,200, against an estimate of S$6,000-8,000; Luong Xuan Nhi's 'Vietnmese Women' fetched S$78,000.
Oil on canvas work 'Bird's Paradise' by Indonesian artist Widayat also fetched a price that sets a new record for the artist. It was sold for S$227,200, doubling the previous record of S$116,250 for his work 'Monkey at the Sanctuary' at Sotheby's auction in September 2001.
'Women with Offerings', a sculpture by Indonesian artist But Mochtar also fetched a record price of S$216,000 at today's auction. Estimated at S$35,000-45,000, the lot was sold amidst competitive bidding in the room and over the telephone.
Cover lot 'Self Portrait' by Indonesian artist Affandi (sold for S$260,800), 'Family at a Meal' by Filipino artist Vicente Silva Manansala (sold for S$180,000), 'Newsboy' by Filipino artist Nena Saguil (sold for S$55,200) also fared strongly in the auction.
'We are delighted with the numerous auction records fetched at today's auction,' commented Kim Chuan Mok, specialist in charge of the sale and deputy director of Sotheby's China and Southeast Asia. 'We have the highest overall value fetched for Vietnamese paintings ever and especially delighted with the auction record fetched by Le Pho's Mother and Child which is truly a masterpiece of modern Vietnamese art.'