« I am very sensitive to the delicacy, talent and quality of the work of these artists, as well as to their history. Noting that many of them have remained unknown to the Western public, I have therefore endeavoured since 2014 to bring them to light, here in Paris, the city to which most of these artists had come to perfect their artistic education. My job is to pay tribute to them and to promote their works in Paris. »
— Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier
Within the field of Asian art, Aguttes is a pioneer in the highly specialised sector of sales of Asian painters, particularly those who came to France in the early 20th century. The Painters of Asia department was born in the wake of the craze for Asian modernists and manifested by isolated dynamic auctions in the early 2010s. Since then, sale after sale, these somewhat forgotten painters have been revealed to the general public. Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier is committed to holding four annual events in France. The catalogues describe between 30 and 50 carefully selected lots that are feverishly fought over by major international collectors whose ranks grow year after year. His rigorous and continuous work since 2014 has allowed the emergence of this market and has contributed to making Aguttes the real key player in the speciality.
The artists & their favourite subjects
Paris has always attracted artists from all over the world. They came to complete their studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris, in the studios of the Montmartre and Montparnasse districts, or in the galleries of the Louvre Museum, all in the midst of an unceasing agitation conducive to tremendous artistic emulation. These artists made painting their favourite medium, whether it was ink and colours on silk or oil on silk, canvas or isorel. However, lacquer and sculpture were also celebrated, illustrating the variety of the technical spectrum and talent of these artists. As for the themes that inspired them, the female figure is one of the most frequent, with full-length or busted girls, indoors or in nature, or female nudes. The mother figure and children in general, sometimes accompanied by elderly parents, also received much attention, in a spirit of celebrating traditions of filial piety. Numerous still lifes were produced, notably floral compositions. Finally, nature, the animal world and landscapes were widely honoured as souvenirs of the painters’ native regions.
Among the signatures that are sought after and that Aguttes will defend with passion, they are naturally classified according to the countries of origin of the painters:
For Vietnam, we shall retain Lê Phổ, Lương Xuân Nhị, Vũ Cao Đàm, Mai Trung Thứ, Lê Thị Lựu, Phạm Hậu, Nam Sơn, Lê Văn Đệ, Nguyễn Ðức Nùng, Nguyễn Khang, Minh Châu…
For China, Sanyu, Lin Fengmian, Pan Yuliang, Zhu Yuanzhi…
And also French artists, travelling painters or those who taught in the country, such as Victor Tardieu – the famous founder of the Indochina School of Fine Arts – but also Alix Aymé, Evariste Jonchère, Joseph Inguimberty, Henri Emile Vollet…
The provenance of the artworks on offer
Individuals who own a painting, lacquer or sculpture have often owned it for many years. They may have come across the artist by chance, or sometimes even have formed a friendly relationship. They have chosen a work in the painter’s studio, or in a gallery representing him. Some, more simply, have always known these Asian paintings on the walls of the family living room, testimonies of their parents’ youthful meetings…
Some other owners may also have brought souvenirs of their years in Asia, particularly in China or Vietnam, during the 20th century, and passed their possessions on to their heirs.
Gradually, the identity of the artists, their talent and rarity were forgotten. As the Western world does not always have the necessary codes to appreciate Asian culture and art, many families have simply kept Asian paintings, lacquerware and sculptures out of sentimental attachment and taste.
In recent years, the work led by Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier to bring to light this little-known part of art history has aroused a great deal of curiosity among the art-loving public. It was also rewarded by the masterly bids achieved by Claude Aguttes at nearly 18.5 million euros (including tax) for four paintings by the Chinese artist Sanyu, and by multiple world records for the painters trained at the Indochina School of Fine Arts. We thus presented more than 90 works by Lê Phổ, more than 60 works by Vũ Cao Đàm, and more than 60 Mai Trung Thứ… . As a key international player in this very specific market, we offer our sellers the privilege of accessing the world’s largest buyers with the comfort of an auction in Paris and the undeniable benefit of a close human relationship.
The enthusiasm of today’s collectors for these painters and sculptors
The buying clientele, particularly from Hong Kong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Taiwan, is very active at Aguttes sales, which are eagerly awaited by the world market. Collectors are very sensitive to the quality of the lots selected in the sales, which are entitled “Asian Painters, Major Works” and are numbered. Flattered by the dynamism of the exhibitions and sales, current collectors are keen to participate faithfully in these sales and to increase their purchases. We are delighted to see the recognition given to these artists by the art world today.
Putting it up for sale, a tailor-made service
The sales are held at Aguttes’ headquarters, located in Neuilly-sur-Seine on the axis between the Champs-Elysées and La Défense, the Paris business district. They are held quarterly on carefully chosen dates, in line with the current market of Asian painters and the availability of its collectors.
As the owner of a property linked to the history of these painters, you are wondering about its possible value and its future. Is it appropriate to sell? Is it appropriate to pass it on? Is it wise to share it among your children? How do you know the value? Every day, Charlotte Aguttes-Reynier receives similar requests by email and thus provides advice on valuation, expertise, sharing… You can therefore simply send photographs of the works with their dimensions (in the following order: front, back, signature and/or annotations). It is also advisable to organise a meeting (in person or by telephone) to get to know the work and to go into the subject more deeply.
After the valuation and appraisal, we can discuss the best sales strategy to adopt and all issues related to the financial, fiscal and logistical conditions of the envisaged sale. The terms and conditions discussed are adjusted according to the constraints of each party.
If you then decide to proceed with the sale, the terms of the agreement are contractualised in a mandate which sets out the clear and precise legal framework for this operation. This includes descriptions of the lot(s), the relevant estimates, the general conditions of sale and all the information concerning your rights, including the amount of costs to be paid by the seller. The auctioneer in charge of auctioning your property will, on the day, have full knowledge of the agreed terms. The contract is signed bilaterally either by exchange of letters (email, post, electronic signature, etc.) or during an appointment.
The transfer of the lot is organised and the property is immediately covered by the Conveyancing insurance taken out by Aguttes up to the agreed minimum price.
The work of expertise and preparation of the sale catalogue is then carried out in depth: creation of description sheets, research into historical information, technical expertise, photographs, etc. The catalogue is sent to print and put online on our website, it is distributed as widely as possible and distributed on international platforms. The aim is to reach the maximum number of potential buyers. Purchases must be paid for in cash and we are responsible for storing them in our safe until full and final payment is received. Only then can the property fly to its new owner.
As soon as we receive the proceeds of the sale, we will send you the balance of the sale by bank transfer, in strict accordance with the original terms of sale. In the event of a non-sale (for example if the minimum reserve price is not reached) you retain ownership of the lot and are free to dispose of it without charge or to leave it for a new sale. This completes the cycle of your sales experience at Aguttes.
They trusted us
“We are very grateful to you for taking care of our two paintings and for negotiating them so well with the buyers…You are true professionals !!!!” (Two Mai Trung Thu sold respectively 101 400€ and 195 000€)
“It is not always easy emotionally to have to part with objects that are part of your family history. I thank them very much”. (Alix Aymé sold for 50,700€)
“My sincere congratulations for the quality and success of today’s sale!””I would like to thank you for your professionalism, both in terms of customer relations and knowledge of the market and the conduct of the auction. (Alix Aymé sold for 50 700€)
“My sincere congratulations for the quality and success of today’s sale!
“I would like to thank you for your professionalism, both in terms of customer relations, knowledge of the market and the conduct of the auction.” (Mai Trung Thu sold for 117,000€)
“I was delighted with my first experience with you. Everything went perfectly and the telephone contacts were very courteous. I am planning to ask for the sale of an antique piece of furniture soon. Thank you again”. (Alix Aymé sold for 1950€)
“I am very pleased with the service and the quality of the catalogue. We will be present at the sale. (Le Pho sold for 127 400€)
“A big congratulations for the success of this sale that I followed on Drouot online.” (Zhu Yuanzhi sold for 212 000€)
“We thank you for your sending: the catalogue is very nice and Nam’s painting is well displayed…! (Nguyen Nam Son sold for 255 150€)
Asian painters in videos
SANYU – Le maître de piste, Mr Loyal, à cheval, 1926 – June 2, 2022
SANUY : It all started with an e-mail – December 18, 2017
Aguttes Auction House : Dr D. Collection – March 14, 2022
Asian painters  – November 29, 2021
Le Pho “Jeune fille aux pivoines” sold for 1.1 million euros – October 6, 2020
Le Pho’s value rises under the hammer of Maître Aguttes – October 24, 2016