Wednesday, September 30 2020


Art critic publishes book on southern fine art

Update: October, 04/2016 - 08:00
Self taught: Gold Fish, a mixed media painting by People’s Artist, painter and art critic Uyên Huy. (VNSphotos)
Viet Nam News

By Thu Anh

HCM CITY — Art critic and painter Uyên Huy has published  a book that documents trends in 20th century fine arts in the southern region with more than 200 black-and-white and colour images.

The 700-page book, Mỹ Thuật Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh- Một Thoáng Hôm Nay Một Chút Xưa (HCM City’s Fine Arts during the 20th Century), features documents and photos that feature different styles of contemporary painting and sculpture by artists living in the south, particularly in HCM City.     

The role of urban fine arts in Sài Gòn (now HCM City) between 1975 and 2015 is described as well as new trends created by young artists. 

“Huy’s new book is a valuable production for people who love to research and read about Vietnamese fine arts in the đổi mới (renovation) and international integration period,” said Dr.Trương Phi Đức, principal of the HCM City University of Fine Arts.

Huy’s previous book, Mỹ Thuật Đô Thị Sài Gòn-Gia Định Từ Năm 1900 1975 (Urban Fine Arts of Sài Gòn-Gia Định from 1900 to 1975), was published in 2014 and received the Critic Award presented by the Việt Nam Fine Arts’ Association. 

The 650-page book includes information and visuals of the ancient cultures of Champa, Óc Eo and Khmer which influenced the southern city.

The book includes information about specific events, artworks, characters and historical marks.

The role of three French schools in Bình Dương in 1901, Đồng Nai in 1903, and Gia Định in 1913, which offered training for students in handicraft and decorative arts, is also featured in the book.

These schools laid the foundation for the famous Indochina Fine Arts College in Hà Nội in 1925.


Huy, whose real name is Huỳnh Văn Mười, was born in 1950 in Sài Gòn. His love for painting began at an early age after he began studying art by himself before attending the Gia Định Fine Arts School in 1964.

In 1973, he won the Esso Art Prize for his work, Nhạc Chiều (Afternoon Music), a painting in praise of life and music. He then worked as a lecturer in painting at the Gia Định school in 1974.

He has worked for several prestigious art schools, including the HCM City University of Fine Arts, HCM City University of Architecture and Đồng Nai College of Decorative Fine Arts.  

He has organised more than 70 solo and group exhibitions around the country and in many other countries.

Huy has also won several top prizes for painting and criticism presented by local and foreign fine arts associations and organisations.

“I have for several decades worked in painting and teaching. For me, teaching is a duty that a veteran artist like me should be involved in. I wanted to deliver my love for art and experience to younger generations,” said Huy, who opened his latest solo painting exhibition in HCM City last year to celebrate his career of 50 years. 

The showcase, Vĩ Cầm Và Biển (Violin and Sea), featured 50 paintings in acrylic and mixed media, and showed the 66-year-old artist’s love and passion for the country and life.

Huy is now chairman of the HCM City Association of Fine Arts.

Published by the Mỹ Thuật (Fine Arts) Publishing House, Huy’s book is available at bookstores in HCM City and provinces. – VNS




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