In the shadows of Hanoi

In the cultural history of Vietnam, Hanoi has traditionally wielded inspiration for artists, crystallized in a strange mixture of its own rich Vietnamese heritage and the French colonial past, whose convergence reflects a unique aesthetic and temporal collision course within the country’s contemporary art history. Although the charm of Hanoi’s landscape has allowed numerous artists to borrow freely from its picturesque language that has contributed to a strong intellectual life, few artists … [Read more...]

Vietnamese Art: A Passion for Painting

A Winding River opened to the public at Meridian's galleries in Washington, DC on November 9, 1997. The nationwide tour will take the exhibition to six to eight other locations over a two-year period beginning in April, 1998. For further information, please contact Meridian's Arts Office at (202) 939-5518. Historically speaking, Vietnamese painting is still very young. A mere 70 years have passed since Hanoi's first official art academy, the Ecole de Beaux Arts opened its doors to local … [Read more...]

Mysterious motifs

By Jame Gordon, 2004 Morden art in Saigon has a number of motifs, which foreigners who have been in the city any length of time will have noticed keep turning up. Vietnamese modern art is colourful and powerfully projected. Yet the Vietnamese motifs remain a mystery bursting to be discosed. First, I will list some of the motifs. In order of prevalence, but with people ahead of landscapes, though landscapes are so common. It is not mean to be a list of all or even the most important motifs … [Read more...]

Conservation – Care for your paintings

This page is meant to educate and equip you to better care for your paintings and art works. It gives practical advice applicable to everybody’s needs and is also an introduction to conservation and restoration. However, these are specialist areas which require advanced technical skills and experience. Conservation Emphasis in the past was on restoration of the painting to its former glory. This often included substantial ‘creative’ painting restoration in addition to cleansing. Nowadays, … [Read more...]

State of the Art-Scene in Vietnam

Hanoi, Aug 10, 2006 A decade after modern Vietnamese painting made a splash on the world scene, critics and galleries say rampant commercialisation and a glut of cheap copies are threatening the young art movement. The original works of Vietnam's best-known artists such as are fetching small fortunes in Hanoi, Hong Kong and Singapore. But for each authentic work, hundreds of reproductions are being churned out by craftsmen who have almost perfected a centuries-old Asian tradition of … [Read more...]

Masterpieces – Not blue chips : Investing in Art

An investment in art can bring you more enjoyment than stocks, but payoffs can be chancy. The first art investment fund dates back at least to 1904 when a Parisian financier, André Level, persuaded 12 other art lovers to contribute 212 francs each to set up a fund that would buy modern paintings. They quickly accumulated works by Picasso, Braque and Matisse amongst others and by the time the entire collection of La Peau de L’Ours (“the skin of the bear”) fund was sold 10 years later their … [Read more...]

A Rare Rescue Mission

Mar 22, 2008 Researchers race to preserve uniquely fragile paintings from the communist era in Vietnam. For the past five years, Adrian Jones and his research team have traveled around Vietnam collecting old tubes of oil paint, unused canvases and old paper—in fact, pretty much any art material they can find that has been produced since the 1940s. They have also been interviewing elderly artists to gain a better understanding of their techniques. Their goal: to staunch the deterioration of … [Read more...]

Land of Hope and Aspirations

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Be careful what you set your heart upon – for it surely will be yours (James Baldwin) “I simply set out to paint the wishes of parents and of the next generation,” Tuan Anh says of his new paintings which explore the complexities of dreams and ambitions within a reality of rapid urbanisation and commercialisation. Baldwin turned the clichéd dictum Beware what you wish for... into something altogether more complex by adding the vaguely threatening stanza, for it surly will be yours, implying … [Read more...]

Was Van Gogh Color Blind?

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    Bob Duggan on August 30, 2012, 11:10 PM If there’s any artist who ever lived and knew color in his soul, it was Vincent Van Gogh. Almost mad with color, Van Gogh owned a box of different-colored yarn just so he could tangibly handle color and literally weave them together to determine how the combinations might look when put into paint. Walk through any Van Gogh exhibition on Earth and you’ll come out the other side drunk on color. But a Japanese medical scientist now … [Read more...]

A Point of Departure, a Point of Destination

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Natalia Kraevskaia “Because we just have a limited farmland to work, I have to come here to earn more money to feed my children…We all have to suffer from a hard life, that is the reason to come here to make our living” “There are six members in our family and my husband and I are breadwinners. Now my children have to live with their grandparents while we two come to Hanoi to make money.” “Here some people shout at me… When I am at home, no one has such an attitude towards me. It‟s true … [Read more...]