Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The HCM City Fine Arts Museum is hosting a permanent exhibition showcasing work by female painter Lê Thị Lựu, the first Vietnamese woman to graduate from Indochina Fine Arts College (now the Hà Nội Fine Arts University).
The “Lê Thị Lựu - Ấn Tượng Hoàng Hôn” (Lê Thị Lựu – Twilight Impression) exhibition features 27 of Lựu’s silk paintings, two photographs of her works, two sketches and a painting by her husband, painter Ngô Thế Tân.
All paintings were given to the museum by Tân, Lựu’s nephew Lê Tất Luyện and his wife Thụy Khuê in Paris this year.
“Lựu’s paintings have returned to their rightful place after a half century of being kept abroad. So Vietnamese and foreigners have a chance to see them,” said collector Khuê.
Nguyễn Kim Phiến, the museum’s deputy director, said the paintings were created from 1940 to 1988 when she lived and worked in France.
"These paintings not only carry significant meaning in culture, history and society, but also reflect the development of Vietnamese modern art at the beginning of the 20th century," Phiến said.
Despite living in France, Lựu retained a deep love for her country. Her themes always focused on the country’s landscape and people and children, especially girls and young women.
The highlights of her collection at the exhibition include Mẹ Địu Con (Mother Carrying Baby on Her Back), Ba Mẹ Con Quả Phụ (A Widow and Her Children), and Sơn Nữ (Mountain Girl).
In addition, Lựu’s paintings also feature landscapes and people of places where she had travelled, like the Portrait of a Guinée Man and Landscape of Puy de Dôme, Auvergne Region.
Sơn Nữ (Mountain Girl), a painting by Lê Thi Lựu. — VNS Photo Phương Mai
Khuê, a literary critic, said that Lựu’s paintings reflected two opposites, femininity and romance, and fierceness and sharpness.
Khuê wrote in her book Lê Thị Lựu - Ấn Tượng Hoàng Hôn that Lê Thị Lựu’s silk paintings are “different from those of other artists. Her paintings are more colorful, like oil paintings, but the colors are not shining, so some people mistake them for pastels.”
“In her early period, Lê Thị Lựu’s style and topics were similar to old paintings, but afterward they were similar to Modigliani. For a while, it was influenced by Impressionists such as Renoir, Bonnard and others,” Khuê wrote in her book, published by the HCM City General Publishing House.
The book is about Lựu’s career and life, and Vietnamese arts in the 20th century. It also showcases her paintings.
Lựu was born in 1911 in the northern province of Bắc Ninh and was educated in Hà Nội.
She began studying at the Indochina Fine Art College in 1927 and graduated in 1932.
She taught drawing in Hà Nội from 1933 to 1934 and from 1938 to 1939, and in Sài Gòn (now HCM City) from 1935 to 1937.
In 1940, she moved to France where she had several exhibitions from 1954 to 1971.
She worked as a professor at many arts schools, including the Lycee Corot in 1962. and Lycee Rodin and Lycee d’Orsay in 1963.
Lựu died in 1988 in France at the age of 77.
Visitors can see Lựu’s paintings at 97A Phó Đức Chính Street at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum in District 1. — VNS