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Vietnam's luminous legacy: Rediscovering the women in Nguyen Ngoc Tho's artwork

Vietnam's luminous legacy: Rediscovering the women in Nguyen Ngoc Tho's artwork

Thursday, January 04, 2024, 12:08 GMT+7
Vietnam's luminous legacy: Rediscovering the women in Nguyen Ngoc Tho's artwork
A painting by late artist Nguyen Ngoc Tho features a naked woman on a beach. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A collection of 75 paintings by late artist Nguyen Ngoc Tho which were on display in Hanoi several days ago depict the beauty of the female form, portraits of beautiful Hanoian woman, and animals.

The paintings on exhibition are mostly lacquer – Tho’s preferred medium – selected from a collection curated by collectors Dao Danh Hung and Tran Cuong.

Before passing in 2016 at 91 years old, Tho was known for his brilliant creativity and humble lifestyle. He was also known for never having exhibited his artwork.

In fact, it was not until five years after his death that his art was finally exhibited to the world.

While his vibrant paintings of animals, including goats, horses, tigers, and chickens, are characterized by lively hues, his artworks featuring women primarily concentrate on capturing and conveying the emotions of the subjects.

Their most striking features often include cascading, long black hair, accompanied by bewildered, big round eyes, and sweet-tempered, innocent faces.

Tho’s work belongs to the third generation of Vietnam’s modern art, following the 'Indochina' and 'Revolution' periods.

He initially sketched workers in factories, construction sites, mines, and on farms before turning to impressionism, expressionism, and abstract painting.

A lacquer painting depicts a young girl in Hanoi. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A lacquer painting depicts a young girl in Hanoi. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A painting by Nguyen Ngoc Tho. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A painting by Nguyen Ngoc Tho. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

An abstract lacquer painting by Nguyen Ngoc Tho features a whirlwind. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

An abstract lacquer painting by Nguyen Ngoc Tho features a whirlwind. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A nanny goat and kid in a painting by Nguyen Ngoc Tho. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

A nanny goat and kid in a painting by Nguyen Ngoc Tho. Photo: Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre

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Thanh Ha - Thien Dieu / Tuoi Tre News

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