Nguyen Gia Tri

Bing one of the most famous master painters of Vietnam, he had been known very early, since the 1935s. He graduateed from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de l'Indochine, class 1931-1936; he was much admired even in his student's life. Precociously mature with nationl consciousness, he set off on experimenting painting with lacquer as a medium and then set himself the target of drawing lacquer pictures until his death.


Due to political problems, Nguyen Gia Tri had to flee to Hong Kong by the end of 1945 but later on he returned to Saigon and lived there to the end of his days. In the city, he experimented some abstract paintings drawn on lacquer board and drew several pictures on religious themes ordered by his catholic clients. Virtually the great majority of Nguyen Gia tri's works were focused on the themes of women or children amid grandiose landscapes. Especially his last work, The Spring garden of Northern, Central and Southern Vietnam, currently treasuredat the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts Musium, expresses his wish that Vietnam be a unified country and the Vietnaese enjoy a happy life. With Nguyen Gia Tri the theme is somethings not very important, what interests him most is the own expressiveness of artistic language conveyed through traditional lacquer medium. He loved the romantic style of Botticelli (an Itakian painter of the Renaissance: 1445-1510) with lengthened women bodies, the cnventional, two-dimensional and flowery space in Oriental art; at the same time he intentionally situated his works amid the colo-nial style architectured at the beginnning of the 20th century. He wanted his pictures to possess the splendid but warm and sweet beauty conceived after the aesthetic sense of the Oriental people as shown in the beautiful architecture of communal houses, Taoist temple and pagodas. He wished that each of his works would serve as a lesson of lacquer paiting technique for the future generation.

In Vietnam comtemporary art, Nguyen Gia Tri is highly valued by his total devotion to art and by what he had achieved in combining modernity and traditional character in paiting. He had a very deep influence on many a generation of painters in Vietnam.