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Artist Đán spans traditional and modern worlds in paint

Update: March, 23/2016 - 09:00
Hội An blues: Night in Hội An, a painting by Trần Nguyên Đán.— VNS Photo Trương Vị

HÀ NỘI – An exhibition of unique works by veteran artist Trần Nguyên Đán opened at the Việt Nam Museum of Fine Art yesterday.  

The artworks comprise of more than 100 paintings and woodblocks that Đán created between 1967 and 2015.

All the artworks are from the private collection of Nguyễn Thị Thu Hòa.

“Trần Nguyên Đán is the first artist whose works I have been systematically collecting,” said Hòa. “I have works of his that date from the early part of his career to his latest ones. I think Đán is the person who connects the traditional and modern worlds.”

Đán is among the very few Vietnamese artists who has chosen to make woodblock paintings and follow his medium persistently. This kind of art form has made him popular, along with Đỗ Đức, Mai Khanh and Trần Tuyết Mai.

The work entitled Đi Cấy (Paddy Transplanting) is one of Đán’s oldest works. The 15cm-by-25cm black-and-white painting depicts women who are transplanting rice seedlings against a background of a man ploughing with his buffalo.

“I made Đi Cấy in my second year at the Hà Nội College of Industrial Fine Arts. My teacher complimented me on the painting,” Đán said. “It encouraged me a lot.”

He made a number of other prints at that time, including the 45cm-by-80cm Con Trâu Là Đầu Cơ Nghiệp (The Buffaloes are the Largest Fortune). The print copy of that painting was bought by the Italian Communist Party.

The work entitled Ai Về Thủ Đô (Who Returns Capital) is Đán’s latest work, made in 2015. The 120cm-by-80cm work has the Sword Lake at its centre, surrounded by other Hà Nội landmarks such as the Đống Đa Mound, the Flag Pole, the Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum and the One Pillar Pagoda, besides the Long Biên Bridge.

The painting was displayed last December during the National Fine Arts Exhibition 2015 in Hà Nội. Đà Nẵng Museum bought one of the six print copies.

“Đán’s artworks vary between themes of nature and people. They have impressed fine art lovers,” sculptor Phan Văn Tiến, director of Việt Nam Museum of Fine Arts, said at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

“Đán combines great skill and many unique features of the Vietnamese folk art of painting,” Tiến said.

Đán has established his reputation as an artist with a unique style since 1980. He gives prominence to national characteristics from layouts to carving lines and colours.

Born in 1941 in the northern Bắc Ninh Province, Đán graduated from the Hà Nội College of Industrial Fine Arts in 1970, before working at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Department of Preservation and as deputy director of the Museum of Fine Arts.

His five artworks -- entitled Trở Lại Tam Bạc (Return to Tam Bạc); Nghệ Nhân Tranh Phố Hàng Trống Hà Nôi (Hà Nội’s Hàng Trống Folklore Painting Artists); Chăm Học Chăm Làm (Hard Work Hard Study); and Hội Đền Hùng (Hùng King Festival); besides Thăng Long – Đống Đô – Hà Nội -- earned him the State Award for Literature and Arts in 2007.

The award is Việt Nam’s second highest honour after the Hồ Chí Minh Award.

The exhibition will run till March 27 at 66 Nguyễn Thái Học Street, Hà Nội. — VNS

 

 

Fabulous folklore: The painting Nghệ Nhân Tranh Phố Hàng Trống Hà Nôi (Hà Nội’s Hàng Trống Folklore Painting Artists) is one of five paintings that earned artist Đán the State Award for Literature and Arts in 2007.
Cityscape: Painting entitled Ai Về Thủ Đô (Who Returns Capital) is Trần Nguyên Đán’s latest work, created in 2015.

 

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