Klimt in Hanoi

More specifically, at a Traditional art gallery in Hanoi.

Like many bigger cities in neighboring China, Old Hanoi is teeming with these small galleries which offer everything from cheap quickly-produced reproductions of renowned masterpieces — one I saw last Monday went so far as advertising ‘Van Gogh HERE’– to more selective collections that only feature works by Vietnamese painters. But even many of those are reproductions.

There’s not necessarily anything wrong with buying one of those fakes, as long as you know you’re not getting a deal on a piece by a local rising star whose works are demanding upwards of $25,000 (or more) on the open market. Or even in the millions, as in the case of my Yue Minjun acquisition in Shanghai last spring. But if you’re thinking about spending more than a few hundred dollars/euros on a piece, do a little research first. In many instances, little more is required than visiting a small handful of galleries and browsing a bit to see if indeed one location has an exclusive arrangement with certain artists. In some cases it’s true, in many it’s not.

In any case, it’s still fun watching the locals at work.

Visits to a couple upscale Hanoi galleries is on the agenda for next week. Vietnamese art is on the rise internationally, and I’m curious to see why.

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