(Born: Hanoi 1930 - Died: Dalat 2006)
Gouache on paper - 80cm x 60cm
Nguyen Van Phuong started engaging in art and cultural activities at an early age.
Before the Franco-Vietnam war broke out in 1945, he studied music with a German professor. Her husband was both a mathematics professor and an amateur artist, with a great passion for arts. Inspired by the world of art introduced by this German artist cum math professor, Phuong decided to study drawing under him.
In 1950, Nguyen Van Phuong was given his first solo exhibition at the Hall of Information of Hanoi City. Another solo show was held at the Hall of Information of Hai Phong City later that year.
In 1954, Phuong passed a strict admission exam to enter the National Fine Arts College in Gia Dinh Province (this province was annexed to Saigon City in 1975). He was among the only 9 students admitted to this college that year. All of these 9 students were granted full scholarships. Nguyen Van Phuong decided to major in sculpture. Yet, he studied at this college for only one year. He dropped out during his sophomore year due to a conflict with a professor.
From 1959 to 1975, Nguyen Van Phuong actively took part in numerous art exhibitions, including those held at the Information Hall of Saigon City and Asian Cultural Association Headquarters.
During this period, he had two major contributions to Vietnamese fine arts:
- He wrote a book titled “Vietnamese Contemporary Art,” published by the Department of Art, Ministry of National Education of Vietnam (South Vietnam) in 1962. Several copies of this book were given to international guests attending The First International Art Exhibition, which was organized at Tao Dan Garden, Saigon, in 1962. This was the first Vietnamese art book ever written and published until that time.
Vietnamese Contemporary Art
Catalogue of The First
International Art Exhibition
In 1998, he held his third solo exhibition, titled “An Eternal Spring,” at Tu Do Gallery (Liberty Gallery), Ho Chi Minh City. This was his first solo exhibition in South Vietnam, following the first two in Hanoi and Hai Phong in 1950.
Bride Reception Ceremony
oil on canvas - 136cm x 130cm
We don't have any information about his work displayed at the two exhibitions in Hanoi and Hai Phong. Nguyen Van Phuong was a reserved man and rarely talked about himself.
Yet, all of the artworks he created from 1958 until his death show a consistent thematic approach to art. He loved to revive and glorify the civilization of Van Lang Kingdom (2879-258 BC), the legendary realm of the Hung Kings.
He celebrated The Eternal Spring of Vietnamese people, with jolly festivals throughout the year. Every object or character in his paintings is filled with effervescence and happiness. Even images of country girls toiling in rice fields look cheerful and lovely in their traditional dresses.
Temple of Letter in the Spring
Oil on canvas - 140cm x 180cm
A Rosy Silk
Oil on canvas - 100cm x 140cm