Ham Nghi was the 8th King of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802–1945), but his reign only lasted for one year (1884-1885).
After leading a failed resistance movement against French colonial rule, he was captured and exiled to Algeria, a French colony, on December 12, 1888.
While in exile in Algiers, he immersed himself in the study of painting and sculpture, dedicating his life to intensive artistic activities.
This auction marks the first time that such a large number of paintings by the late king are being offered for sale. The paintings were discovered in the attic of the French military officer Henri Aubé, who was stationed in Hanoi from 1907 to 1909.
During a visit to Vietnam, Dr Amandine Dabat, the grandchild of King Ham Nghi, revealed that there are still around 100 of his paintings that are preserved.