To Ngoc Van’s Conception About Art

From the first exhibition of To Ngoc Van in Sai Gon (17/12/1930) to the day when he passed away in Dien Bien Phu campaign (17/06/1954), his artistic life lasted for 24 years with 2 phases of composition 1930-1945 (before the August Revolution) and 1945-1954 (the war against France). In fact, the social history had had a great impact on his career. If the art reflects the changes in social relations, the work of Ngoc Van partially demonstrate such thing.

Indochina Fine Arts College was established in winter 1925 with the first artist generation such as Le Pho, Mai Trung Thu, Le Van De, Nguyen Phan Chanh, Cong Van Trung and Georges Khanh.To Ngoc Van was the second artist generation had learnt in this college. He had had chance to be taught by French teachers, learned artistic technique such as history about the art of cubes, the application of natural colours in order to create renowned pictures afterward. Artist Tran Binh Loc wrote: “In terms of artistic field, To Ngoc Van career is worth being appreciated because he had a good vision, a quality that not all the artist did”. From the beginning he did not accept the aesthetic ideal of Greece and Italian arts with cold shades of gray, respect for the symmetry, graphics glitches in the classic contour. He had discovered and asserted itself to find beauty, harmony between man and nature.

To Ngoc Van Artist
To Ngoc Van Artist

Graduated in 1931, To Ngoc Van had collaborated with some newspaper such as Phong Hoa, Ngay Nay, Thanh nghi. Under his pen name To Tu, Ai My, he had written and painted many works on those newspapers till 1945. If Nguyen Do Cung was a talented artist, an archeologist, To Ngoc Van had completed his mission on opening a new aesthetic pratice, a sharp art critic with his new conception about art in general.

Derived from the concept “the beauty in the picture is not the beauty in reality”, period 1930-1945, To Ngoc Van’s art style had been followed the Western art tendencies but was appropriate for Vietnamese society in 1930s, the last years of campaign bourgeois revolution. French army on the one hand suppressed revolutions; on the other hand they seduced Vietnamese people to play the whore. Tu Luc Van Doan group had issued a manifesto that criticized the patriarchal behaviours of Vietnamese people. In these years, To Ngoc Van was in harmony with Tu Luc Van Doan group, he ascertained that his art style was in the same situation with intelligentsia’s one. Many of his art works in the newspapers such as landscape, Hanoian women expressed his artistic conception about shape, material, color, natural lights.


At this time, similar to the artistic esthete of To Ngoc Van, Nguyen Do Cung had depicted a beauty through narrative “Live and Draw” that was issued in Xuan Thu Nha Tap Journal in 1942. This was a big journal issued many topics such as literature, poem and painting and created by Nguyen Luong Ngoc. Established in 1942, this group had their own art tendency, manifesto, poem that followed “hermétique” style. Nguyen Do Cung’s work “Live and Draw” was based on To Ngoc Van’s conception about art. His conception accepted that art is a means of expressing emotion rather than a research about ideal model of beauty. It also confirmed that art must evaluate the human’s value and emotion. He wrote: “I think that a beautifull picture describes my feeling. Therefore, I only believe that a man with full of emotion will become a famous artist”.

All of his works in the period 1930-1945 had demonstrated his conception about art that expressed his personal feeling with gorgeous tone of colour. Although mainly exposed with classical art, French impression under the guidance of professor Victor Tardieu, Inguimberty, he realized the fribolity of French impression that ignores the human’s emotion. Artist Tran Van Can said “To Ngoc Van had graduated in 1931. It was easy to spot the Gauguin’s influence in picture “Offrande” and Acgianta’s influence on the work “Cadeau de Noce” or Japanese art in work “two shepherd children”.

Thanh Nghi newspaper number 87, 12/10/1944 made a comment about art exhibition in 1944: “Along with warm yellow tone of colour of some artists is oil pain with bright cold shade of colour of To Ngoc Van- an artist always loves his life. Under his eyes, gloomy scene has something happy inside”. In fact, in terms of To Ngoc Van conception about art, colour is the soul of a work no matter what material it is and artist is the one who control the emotion to find the inner beauty to express the sophistication of life”. Picasso said: “ I do not find but I see”. We can see that To Ngoc Van’s artistic conception was quite similar to Picasso’s conception.

Artist Nguyen Tu Nghiem passed away

According to an announcement of Vietnam Fine Arts Association, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, a veteran Vietnamese artist passed away, at the age of 94, on 15th June 2016. The artist was born in Nghe An province, located in the center of Vietnam and graduated from Indochina Fine Arts College (1941-1946). He was famous for painting lacquer, oil paint and pigments.
He used to teach in Hanoi Fine Arts University in the period from 1959 to 1960. He also worked as a lecture in Hanoi Industrial Fine Arts University, a member of the first Executive Committee of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association (1957- 1983) and an artist of ‘ composing group’ of Vietnam Fine Arts Association . Earlier in the war in Indochina, he was responsible for lecturing arts on the Viet Bac Revolutionary Base.
The artist was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize in Literature and Arts in 1996 and known as one of the most creative painters who pioneered to experiment new materials for lacquer painting in Vienam. Nghiem was also successful with oil painting on canvas and water color. He is regarded as one of the four greatest painters in 20th century Vietnam along with Bui Xuan Phai(1920-1988), Duong Bich Lien (1924-1988) and Nguyen Sang (1923-1988).

“ Handshake” Art Exhibition


Open: 4th– 12th, March 2016

Location: Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts

Art Exhibition “Handshake” collects more than 80 works by 16 artists, including 6 Russian artists.

On 3rd March, the opening event of the 5th Art Exhibition Vietnam – Russia Handshake is held in Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum. This year, the organizers send invitation to artists from the South Central Provinces, Central Highlands, Ho Chi Minh City and Russian artists in the city of Magadan, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok.

This is an annual exchange activity between the two countries’ artists, initiated by Prof. Dr. Olga Zotova – Faculty of Journalism and Publishing, Far Eastern Federal University in Russia and Bui Van Quang – the manager of Vietnam Fine arts Association in Khanh Hoa.

According to Bui Van Quang, this is the exhibition with the largest number of participants. Mr Quang said that the subjects of Russian artists in this exhibition are mainly landscapes, realism. The participants are very famous.

The painters exchange the art and culture of the two countries in the outdoor painting sessions at the fishing village, the small islands of Nha Trang and Vladivostok. They are introduced traditional food, music programs and some rural traditions locally.



Vietnam Transportation

Vietnam Travel by rickshaw

Travelling Vietnam now is freaking easy and convenient. Tourists see a wide selection to go around Vietnam such as planes, public vehicles or private cars. Below is the basic transportation in brief that may be informative for you to your Vietnam vacation easier.

Getting to Vietnam
By flight
Vietnam is the destination that flights via a lot of countries in the area and in the world. Three international airports are set in three biggest cities including Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Danang; therein, Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport handle the most international flights in total.
Especially, traveling between nearby tourist countries like LaosCambodia (included in Indochina tour itineraries) or Myanmar get so simple and easy as they are well and fast connected with planes.Getting Vietnam by Air

By Bus
There is a bus route running from Nanning, China to Hanoi everyday that takes about eight hours.
Getting Around Vietnam

By Flight
Domestic airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific, and Air Mekong offer inexpensive flights which are worth a glance when you think of coming around Vietnam. Lots of flights occur in a day that may help you save your minutes to relish more landscapes than burn the time on transferring.
Besides, international brands as Air Asia, Korean Air, Thai Airways, and China Airlines…are also available.

By Train

No hard to travel from China to Vietnam by train which migrates from Beijing every Monday and Friday and reaches in Hanoi on Wednesday and Sunday.
Railways may help save a little budget compared to planes, but it is definitely not for those who look for comfortable transportation. The stuffy atmosphere and sometimes stink might make you feel unpleased.
There is a railway running along Vietnam and pretty much stopping at many provinces including tourist cities as Hanoi, Danang, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City…
However, its plus is that you can sit enjoying the view outside the window along the way.

Vietnam travel by train

By Taxi
Vietnamese taxi drivers rarely speak English well; consequently, they usually don’t understand your address you want. So, getting lost is a common thing. Bringing a map with you may help.

By Auto Rickshaw
Auto rickshaw is often liked by foreign tourists in city tours for a Vietnam slow real taste which provides them a closer view of small narrow like the ones in Hanoi Old Quarters.
There are also other familiar options like trishaw, bicycle, motorcycle, vespa, even ox-cart in some rural villages when visiting Mekong Delta attractions.Vietnam Travel by rickshaw

Lacquer painting exhibition: “Uncle Ho with Thai Nguyen “

Lacquer painting exhibition: “Uncle Ho with Thai Nguyen “

Opening: 16th February, 2016
Location: Historical and ecological site ATK, Dinh Hoa, Thai Nguyen

The exhibition will display 115 pictures and lacquer on wood paintings to introduce the activities of President Ho Chi Minh in the safe zone ATK Viet Bac- Thai Nguyen in the Anti- French Resistance War, showing the great respect of the party, authority and residents in Thai Nguyen to Uncle Ho in the period of 1954- 1964.

In addition, a number of pictures about the people as well as the beauty of the land Thai Nguyen and other activities of the 18th National congress of the Communist Party will also be shown in this exhibition.
Thanks to the skillfulness and talent of the artists, the works have been shown in a harmonized manner from the magic beauty to the emotional depth.

The exhibition will gives people a chance to enhance their knowledge about the time when Uncle lived and worked in Thai Nguyen, and reaffirm the strategic vision of the Central Party, the Government and President Ho when choosing Thai Nguyen as a safe zone for the war period.

Also, this activity will make a great contribution to educate cadres, people, especially the youth the patriotism and revolution today. The exhibition will last until 17th February.

Tết Art 2016 – Vietnam’s Leading Contemporary Art Fair

22 – 31 Jan 2016, 9 am – 8 pm
Hanoi Creative City
No. 1, Luong Yen, Ha Noi

From the organizer:

Come to join TẾT ART 2016 – “A.poth.e.o.sis” – Vietnam’s Leading Contemporary Art Fair.

Continuing the success of TET ART 2015, TET ART proudly presents TET ART 2016, a historical art happening that will take place from 21-31 January 2016, at Hanoi’s newest and hottest art and creative destination: HANOI CREATIVE CITY.

TET ART 2016 unites and showcases more than 200 curated original artworks by more than 80 leading Vietnamese and international modern and contemporary artists. The program also features a series of Art Talks on Artist and Art Creation, Art Collection and Art Investment; Art Performance; Workshops; Art Tour, and an Art Film section.

Notably, all artworks on display will have specially concessional prices during TET ART 2016 as a commitment of the organizer and all the participating artists to the development of Vietnamese arts and art lovers

Hanoi Grapevine

Exhibition “24.12.15”

Opening: Thu 24 Dec 2015, 5.30 pm
Exhibition: 24 – 31 Dec 2015
lAcA Cafe

From the organizer:

Art carries religion to everyone, leads people to religion. All religions, including Catholicism, have always been the subject and inspiration of the art, including painting. You are invited to the group exhibition “24.12.15” – contributed to Christmas 2015.

Participating artists: Tao Linh, Do Dung, Nguyen Nghia Cuong, Tran Nhat Thang, Tran Gia Tung, Pham Tran Quan, Nguyen Quoc Thang, Ngo Thi Binh Nhi, Doan Hoang Lam, Lam Duc Manh, Nguyen Phan Bach, Phuong Binh, Bui Thanh Thuy, Le Thiet Cuong and poet Nguyen Quang Thieu.

The exhibition will feature 27 paintings by all materials: oil paint, arcylic on canvas, wood carving, lacquer.

In additions, Pham Quang Tran Minh will be forming some classical songs, guitarist Pham Ky Nam playing some Christmas ones and poet Nguyen Quang Thieu reading some poetry in the event.

lAcA Cafe
2nd floor, 24 – 26 Ly Quoc Su, Hanoi

Hanoi Grapevine

Exhibition and Exchange – Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand

Opening: Sat 26 Dec 2015, 4.30 pm
Exhibition: 27 Dec 2015 – 02 Jan 2016, 9 am – 5 pm
Exhibition House
29 Hang Bai, Hanoi

From the organizer:

You are invited to the artist exhibition and exchange Vietnam – Malaysia – Thailand.

The exhibition features 36 artworks by 9 representative contemporary artists from 3 countries with different styles and multiple perspectives on life, people, and distinct landscapes of each country.

Hanoi Grapvine.

National Fine Art Exhibition 2015

Exhibition: 8 am – 5 pm, 09 – 23 Dec 2015
Vietnam Exhibition Centre for Culture and Arts (Van Ho Exhibition Center)
2 Hoa Lu Str., Hanoi

Hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism with the participation of 421 authors over all the country in which 67 work in Sculpture, Installation art, and other 354 counterparts work in painting, graphics, and video art areas.

Hanoi Grapevine.

“Flex” Art Exhibition By Heather McClellan At Nguyen Art Gallery

PowerPoint PresentationOpening: Fri 17 Apr 2015, 7 pm
Exhibition: 18 – 26 Apr 2015

At Nguyen Art Gallery

From Heather McClellan:

Artist Heather McClellan requests your presence at “Flex”, her Vietnamese-inspired lacquer exhibition.

Heather McClellan received her formal training in graphics and illustration at the Cleveland Institute of Art, one of the leading art and design schools in the United States. A lover of materials and methods, Heather’s work continually leads her to explore new techniques and continual learning at the feet of masters of new crafts. She works fluently in traditional media (ink, pencil, pastels, oils, and acrylics), but is also practiced in a diversity of methods (scratchboard, lithographs, ceramics, silk screens, lacquer, large murals, and mixed media). She regularly represents women as her subjects and draws her inspiration from a wide variety of cultures.


Artist statement:

Early in my career, my greatest struggle was in creating. I found that my passion for the human form and my God-given talents made it easy to illustrate, to show things “as they are”, but to me, this was disappointingly insufficient; art is so much more. It should evoke and stir others to passion. It should showcase imperfections and limitations. But most of all, it should be creative, meaning that it generates something new: an idea, a sentiment, a desire. I have found great satisfaction in experimenting across multiple techniques, perhaps because of the newness and my desire to explore, but more likely because of the imperfections they allow. Pencil and chalk are so precise that they leave little space for the beautiful accidents which manifest themselves in other media. As I force my technical skills into new and imperfect formats, I find it jarring, disrupting, exciting—and this excitement comes precisely because I don’t know what to expect. To me, this is creation.

Contact Heather:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (+84) 0 1238 718 719

The exhibition is free entry.