Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Fifty works by late painter Lưu Công Nhân are on display at an exhibition called Nét (Stroke) at the Vincom Centre for Contemporary Art (VCCA) in Hà Nội.
The exhibition celebrates the 10th death anniversary of the famous painter (1930-2007).
The works on display have been selected from 400 paintings of women, scenery and still life by Nhân owned by collector Nguyễn Phúc Hưởng.
Hailed as a master of watercolours with around 600 works in this genre, Nhân’s subjects of interest range include northern village scenery, Hội An, Huế and Mỹ Sơn landscapes, nudity, still life and flowers.
Muse: Beautiful women were frequent subjects of Nhan’s paintings. - Photo luucongnhancollection.com
In a 1995 interview, he said: “From adolescence till over 60, I have been biking and strolling around my village to sketch local scenes and people.”
He said the landscapes of northern countryside, Hạ Long Bay, Hội An and the northwest region have drawn him again and again in his quest or inner peace.
Nhân’s almost absolute faith in realism finds expression in symbolisation and allegory.
His first mentor was one of the country’s four legends of fine arts, Tô Ngọc Vân (1906 – 1954), who gave him his first lessons of arts at the Việt Bắc base during the first Indochina War (1950 – 1953). However, his style was influenced by a painter he admired the most, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919), the leading French Impressionist and a celebrator of beauty, especially feminine sensuality.
Nhân also read a lot of fine arts books on the Renaissance period in Europe, Chinese watercolours and Vietnamese folklore paintings. He said it was obvious that a painter would be influenced by tradition as well as foreign factors, but what makes one an artist is the ability to stand out from others with a distinctly personal style.
Recalling his old friend, painter Bùi Quang Ngọc said: “He led a moderate and serious life, sticking to busy schedule for daily work. Whether it was friends or food, he chose carefully. He did not drink wine, coffee or tobacco. Sometimes he have a bottle of cold beer. He was a true fan of tea, with a Thái Nguyên tea box and a hot kettle next to him all the time. He also had a real taste for colleting antiques.”
Tireless: Artist Lưu Công Nhân. — File Photo
For his generation, Nhân belonged to a minor group of artists who worked tirelessly. In the final years of his time, as Parkinsons disease and lung cancer tortured him and confined him to a wheel chair, he kept painting. His final sketch was of a naked woman.
Nhân’s paintings have been displayed at the Berlin International Exhibition (1964), Bucharest (1968), Budapest (1960), Laureate of the Vienne Biennal V (1959), Moscow (1958-90), Paris (1980), Prague (1960), Beijing (1957) and Warsaw (1958-60-65). In 2002, he received the State Award (First Phase), National Exhibition Award (1951-60) and Vienne International Exhibition Award (1959).
The Nét exhibition will be held at Room 3, floor B1, Vincom Megamall Royal City, 72A Nguyễn Trãi Street. It will remain open until September 25. —VNS