I am grateful to Reggie Darling's post and this picture, above in particular, which he has kindly given me permission to use. It brought to my attention the Christie's New York sale which included some China Trade pictures, which I had overlooked,
and in particular this scene of Singapore, which was estimated at between USD25-40,000 and which achieved a very bullish USD86,500. I have recently purchased an iconic scene of Victoria Harbour, (Hong Kong), so it is always pleasing to see that I have probably managed to get it at a rather good price. The Singapore picture would have made a nice companion, as they are almost identical in size, and both have the traditional and similar blackwood carved frames, and date from the 1860s. That I have lived in both cities during their days as part of the British Empire was an added incentive.
But as it happens, I was thinking about two pictures that I had seen at a gallery in Saigon,
by the Vietnamese artist Bui Tien Tuan. The glazing makes them rather difficult to see, but they are acrylic on silk, and had both a Japanese and Toulouse-Lautrec quality that appealed to me, (particularly the second one). Unfortunately the price was far too much in my opinion, probably buoyed by a visit to the gallery by the Clintons, which has immediately added an unwelcome premium to anything they are selling, (even if the Clintons did not buy this artist's work).