HÀ NỘI Painting lovers have a chance to see a collection of sketches by late Bùi Xuân Phái to celebrate what would have been his 99th birthday in Hà Nội.
Entitled Phái Vẽ Đạm (Phái Draws Đạm), the works on display were collected by Thai collector Tira Vanictheeranont.
The collection not only includes paintings portraying Nguyễn Bá Đạm - the artist's friend - but also some other friends' portraits and newspaper illustrations.
"It is a rare chance for people to see popularly the works by Phái," collector Trương Nhuận said.
"A few exhibitions were made several decades ago by collectors Trần Hậu Tuấn in 1988 and Nguyễn Mạnh Phúc in 2007 in Hà Nội on the occasion of the 10th and the 20th anniversary of the artist's death."
Đạm is now 96 years old and still living in Hà Nội. He was one of Phái's closest friends and was sketched more than 240 times.
The old teacher's face and personality was what Phái was looking for in a muse to explore inner Hanoians, with his solemn yet witty demeanor and crooked nose on a square face.
Phái drew his friend wherever and with whatever material he had to hand, such as ink pen, colour pencil, ink, ballpoint pen and oil pencil, among others.
The works include a sketch by Phái to test a new pencil given to him by Đạm, one of many small sketches on display.
Phái made his name by creating art on Hà Nội's Old Quarter. He was born in Hoài Đức District on the outskirts of the capital on September 1, 1920.
He was among the last artists to graduate from the Indochina Fine Arts College in 1941-45.
As well as his famed oil-on-canvas paintings, he also had success with other themes including chèo (traditional opera) and portraits. He used many materials such as canvas, paper, wood and even old newspapers due to a lack of material.
Phái won various awards at National Fine Arts Exhibitions and Hà Nội Fine Arts Exhibitions many times. His illustrations on chèo won the book design prize at the Leipzig Book Fair in 1982.
He died on 1988 in Hà Nội. In 1996, he was posthumously awarded the Hồ Chí Minh Prize in literature and arts.
An award was launched in 2008 named "Bùi Xuân Phái Award - For The Love of Hà Nội" to honour his career and to spread his love for Hà Nội. The awards are well respected and honour the contributions of individuals and organisations to society, culture and the arts in Hà Nội.
The late artist was commemorated with a doodle on google.com on Sunday on the occasion of his 99th birthday anniversary.
The Thai collector Tira Vanictheeranont came to Việt Nam 27 years ago as a private supplier of hardware to the HCM City Power Company. He became a collector in 2006 in retirement.
The Bùi Xuân Phái exhibition runs till September 6 at Chọn Auction House, 63 Hàm Long Street, Hà Nội. VNS