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Water colour display at Fine Arts Museum

Update: June, 28/2015 - 12:00

A hundred and five years ago, the famous artist Tran Van Can was born.

His work is now on display at the Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum.

The pictures on show were painted using water colour.

One of his pictures is of his wife holding a baby.

His wife is still alive and was pleased to see the display.

Images from the past: One of the sketches by Tran Van Can on display at an exhibition at the Viet Nam Fire Arts Museum in Ha Noi to mark his 105th birthday.
Images from the past: One of the sketches by Tran Van Can on display at an exhibition at the Viet Nam Fire Arts Museum in Ha Noi to mark his 105th birthday.

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum is showing a collection of watercolour sketches to mark the 105th birth anniversary of master artist Tran Van Can (1910-2015).

The exhibition features 80 watercolour sketches selected from the museum's own collection. These include Tran Van Can's paintings on four themes — portraits, landscapes, productive labour, and national defence – which he did during his trips to various parts of Viet Nam between 1955 and 1979.

"I'm very moved because the exhibition is like a video recording of our life together. It's full of my husband's memories," said Tran Thi Hong, the artist's wife. "The exhibition is very nice and gives a chance to the public to see the artist's works, which he himself would have presented if he was alive."

Viewing her husband's artworks during an early visit to the exhibition, Tran Thi Hong could not hold back her tears.

The sketch entitled Chau Voi Di (Little Girl and Aunt) is a portrait of the artist's wife. Can was inspired by a picture of his wife playing with a baby and had asked her to hold the pose so he could draw them.

"It was noontime in 1974, I was asked to look after our neighbour's baby for some time, and while I was playing with the baby, my husband told me that we looked nice, and he sketched us quickly," Hong recalled.

Can's other portraits include that of President Ho Chi Minh, Hero Nup, and many other ordinary people. His watercolour sketches represent only a small part of Tran Van Can's lifetime output, but they have a unique style as they have subtle, light, and simple colours.

Viewers are offered a rich overview of the artist's preliminary work on many of his greatest works later, including his celebrated oil painting Nu Dan Quan Mien Bien (Coastal Militia Woman), 1960; his magnificent lacquer painting Tat Nuoc Dong Chiem (Watering The Rice Field), 1958; his 1957 oil painting Noi Lai Day Gau (Reconnecting The Bucket's Rope), as well as his lacquer painting Dan Len (Knitting), 1959-1961.

"All the artworks convey the artist's deep feelings and sentiments towards people, landscapes, and their ways of life that he encountered during his travels," said fine arts critic Nguyen Hai Yen.

Artist Can was a 7th generation member of Indochina Fine Arts School. He devoted his life and career to art in his cherished homeland.

Together with some other talented painters of his generation such as Nguyen Gia Tri, To Ngoc Van, and Nguyen Tuong Lan, Can helped set up a foundation for Vietnamese modern fine arts.

He was General Secretary of the Vietnamese Fine Arts Association in 1958-83 and chairman of the Viet Nam Fine Arts Association in 1983-89.

His efforts were rewarded with many awards and accolades, including the Independence Order and the Ho Chi Minh Prize for literature and arts in 1996. In 2010, a street in Ha Noi's Tu Liem District was named after him.

In 2013, his oil painting Em Thuy (Little Thuy) was declared a national treasure by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung through a decision.

The exhibition runs until the end of June at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc. — VNS

GLOSSARY

The exhibition features 80 watercolour sketches selected from the museum's own collection. These include Tran Van Can's paintings on four themes — portraits, landscapes, productive labour, and national defence – which he did during his trips to various parts of Viet Nam between 1955 and 1979.

A portrait is a piece of art showing a person, often only their head and shoulders.

Productive labour means people working to make something.

National defence means the protection of a country.

Can was inspired by a picture of his wife playing with a baby and had asked her to hold the pose so he could draw them.

To be inspired means to be filled with a feeling of wanting to do something creative and positive.

To pose for a picture means to sit or stand in a position so that an artist can paint, or draw a picture of you in that position.

His watercolour sketches represent only a small part of Tran Van Can's lifetime output, but they have a unique style as they have subtle, light, and simple colours.

If an artist has a unique style, no other artist has that style.

Subtle colours are colours that do not stand out very strongly but are nonetheless powerful.

Viewers are offered a rich overview of the artist's preliminary work on many of his greatest works later, including his celebrated oil painting Nu Dan Quan Mien Bien (Coastal Militia Woman), 1960; his magnificent lacquer painting Tat Nuoc Dong Chiem (Watering The Rice Field), 1958; his 1957 oil painting Noi Lai Day Gau (Reconnecting The Bucket's Rope), as well as his lacquer painting Dan Len (Knitting), 1959-1961.

This artist's preliminary work is made up of paintings that were done while he was preparing to do more important pictures. He could have painted them during a practice round.

Lacquer is a liquid used to coat surfaces.

"All the artworks convey the artist's deep feelings and sentiments towards people, landscapes, and their ways of life that he encountered during his travels," said fine arts critic Nguyen Hai Yen.

To convey the artist's deep feelings means bring across the artist's deep feelings.

Your sentiments towards people and landscapes are your feelings towards them.

To encounter things in your travels means to come across them.

Artist Can was a 7th generation member of Indochina Fine Arts School. He devoted his life and career to art in his cherished homeland.

His cherished homeland is the homeland he loves and appreciates.

Together with some other talented painters of his generation such as Nguyen Gia Tri, To Ngoc Van, and Nguyen Tuong Lan, Can helped set up a foundation for Vietnamese modern fine arts.

A foundation is the basis on which certain things can be built. In this case it would be to develop modern fine arts.

His efforts were rewarded with many awards and accolades, including the Independence Order and the Ho Chi Minh Prize for literature and arts in 1996. In 2010, a street in Ha Noi's Tu Liem District was named after him.

Accolades are awards.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

1. Tran Van Can was a sixth generation member of Indochina Fine Arts School.

2. His picture of his wife with a baby was painted in 1947.

3. Tran Van Can painted a portrait of Hero Nup.

4. Tran Van Can was married to Tran Thi Hong.

5. Noi Lai Day Gau (Reconnecting The Bucket's Rope) is an oil painting.

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2015































1. False; 2. False; 3. True; 4. True; 5. True.

 

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