Monday, 6 December, 2010
HCMCITY — Veteran art critic and painter
Nguyen Quan's recently published book that documents trends in 20th century art
in Viet Nam is a comprehensive history that includes more than 200
black-and-white and colour images.
The 400-page book, My Thuat Viet Nam The Ky
20 (Vietnamese Fine Arts during the 20th Century), has four chapters and two
addenda of photos that feature different styles of painting by talented artists
of the last century.
In the book's first chapter, Nhung Nam Dau
The Ky 20 (First Years of the 20th Century), Quan reviews the country's fine
arts activities and trends set by local artists during the period.
The role of the Indochine Fine Arts School
in Ha Noi between 1925 and 1945, recognised as the country's first fine arts
school established by the French, is highlighted in chapter two.
In the following chapter, contemporary art
and its most important artists who worked during the French and American wars,
from 1945 to 1975, are displayed.
New trends created by young artists in the
doi moi (renewal) period are included in the book's final chapter.
The works of dozens of leading artists, such
as Nguyen Phan Chanh, Nguyen Gia Tri, Le Quoc Loc, To Ngoc Van, Tran Van Caøn,
Nguyen Tuong Lan and Le Pho, are described and critiqued by Quan.
The Vietnamese traditional arts of oil
painting and lacquer are also highlighted in the book.
Born in 1948 in Phu Tho Province, Quan began
his love for painting at an early age and studied art by himself.
He worked as a teacher of German at the Ha
Noi Fine Arts University, after graduating in mathematics and cybernetics from
Merseburg University in Germany in 1971.
His first critique on the fine arts was
published in the Ha Noi-based Literature and Arts magazine in 1976.
He also spent six years working as a
lecturer in fine arts history and critical studies for the Viet Nam University
of Fine Arts in Ha Noi.
From 1986 to 1989, he was editor-in-chief of
Fine Arts Magazine and the Ha Noi Fine Arts Publishing House.
In 1995, he moved to live and work as a
free-lance artist and art critic in HCM City.
Many of his paintings were displayed and
stored by museums and collectors in Singapore, Japan and Viet Nam.
Published by the Tri Thuc (Knowledge)
Publishing House, Quan's My Thuat Viet Nam The Ky 20 sells for VND117,000
(US$5.6) and is available at bookstores in HCM City and Ha Noi. — VNS