MAI TRUNG THỨ (1906-1980)
Le coup de vent, 1978
Ink and color on silk, signed and dated lower left. In its original frame made by the artist
60,6 x 38 cm - 23 7/8 x 15 in.
A painter of femininity, Mai Trung Thứ has made women one of his favorite subjects. Whether she’s preening, mothering or contemplating a landscape, the artist pays tribute to the beauty of the women of his country. Here, his model reflects the Asian canons: lanky figure, ebony-black hair, porcelain complexion. The young woman’s origins are also evident in her typically Vietnamese attire: she wears an áo dài, a traditional women’s costume created in the 13th century. It consists of a double-breasted dress worn over pants, emphasizing the feminine silhouette. With her right hand, she tries to catch a conical hat in flight. This traditional hat, known as the nón lá, dates back to the Bronze Age, in the 1st millennium BC. The hat is made entirely by hand from latana leaves. A silk ribbon ties the two ends together. Originally used by peasants to protect themselves from the sun and rain while working in the fields, it has since become a fashion accessory in the city, worn over an áo dài.
Le coup de vent enables the artist to offer an enchanting vision of his native land, but it is also an exercise in the representation of movement. The elements forming the scenery, but also the model, are marked by the undulations
produced by the wind. The hat flies off,the áo dài rises, the grasses and shrubs bend. With this composition, Mai Trung Thứ not only immortalizes the gentleness of Vietnamese women, but also proves his technical mastery. An artist in his own right, he attaches importance to the work as a whole, and creates the frame to sublimate this ink and colors on silk. The green of the frame blends subtly with the palette used in the composition, creating a unique, delicate work.