Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — A celebration of 110th birthday anniversary of Tô Ngọc Vân (1906-1954), one of Việt Nam’s most influential painters in the first half of the 20th century, has just been organised by the Vietnam Fine Arts Association.
“Painter Tô Ngọc Vân’s imprint is an outlook that no other painters have, which is integrating his personal feelings, thoughts and trends into his work instead of just representing contemporary matters of life”, says art critic Nguyễn Hải Yến at the celebration.
“His motto is: A painting is not only beautiful in real life but also in the manifestation of its creator’s inner feelings. Vân can be seen embarking on expressing the role of an artist, not an inscriber of facts, in his works,” she added.
Graduating from the Indochina Fine Arts College, Tô Ngọc Vân influenced many Vietnamese painters of later generations and has been greatly appreciated by the art circle abroad. He was a talented painter and became famous before the August Revolution in 1945, with his oil, lacquer and silk paintings.
He was one of the pioneering painters to assimilate Western methods in a creative way, and combined them with his inheritance of national artistic traditions. He left us a number of works of high artistic value including Thiếu Nữ Bên Hoa Huệ (Young Woman with Lilly) in 1943, Thuyền Trên Sông Hương (Boats on the Perfume River) in 1935 or Thiếu Nữ Ben Hoa Sen (Woman by a Lotus) in 1944.
Following the National Resistance by President Hồ Chí Minh, Tô Ngọc Vân and other renowned Vietnamese artists left Hà Nội for the liberated area and joined the artistic circle where he devoted all his talent and experience to make his contribution to the long war. Also during that period, he created many lacquer paintings and sketches portraying the landscapes and lives of northwestern Việt Nam as well as watercolour paintings depicting the land reform in 1953.
Together with painter Nguyễn Đỗ Cung (1912-1977), Tô Ngọc Vân was one of the artists that laid the foundation for Việt Nam’s Theory and Criticism of Arts, contributing to the many talented painters of the first generation of Việt Nam’s Arts.
He was unfortunately killed on his way to Điện Biên Phủ at the age of 48.
He was one of eight top-notch Vietnamese painters to be awarded the Hồ Chí Minh Prize for Literature and Art and the Independent Order, 1st class in 1996. — VNS