Bloomberg tells the story behind the Vietnamese work that almost got lost in the auction house’s estimation process:
When the British seller of the 1932 work by Nguyen Phan Chanh entitled “La Marchand de Riz” — The Rice Seller — took it to Christie’s in London, it was mistakenly identified by a trainee as an unsigned Chinese work.
After it was forwarded to experts in Asia they recognized the painting by the artist’s signature on the back of the canvas and valued it at between HK$800,000 and HK$1 million.
“The provenance is impeccable,” Jean-Francois Hubert, Christie’s senior consultant for Vietnamese art, said in the salesroom. “It’s in its original frame by Parisian framer Gardin and it was exhibited in 1934 in Napoli.”
Hong Kong-based dealer Pascal de Sarthe purchased the painting at the auction, Hubert said.