Paintings by veteran artist displayed

  • December 28, 2018

More than 70 works by noted artist Nguyen Sy Ngoc (1918-90), a typical painter of the socialist realism trend of Vietnamese modern fine arts, are on display at the Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum.

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A man takes a photo of Nguyen Sy Ngoc’s painting. —  Photo Le Huong

The works range from large lacquer paintings to small illustration sketches printed on newspapers.

The exhibition aims to celebrate Ngọc’s 100th birthday.

According to critic Nguyen Quan, Ngoc was among artists with rare aesthetic taste.

“He believes in realism more than any other abstract notions,” Quan said. “In his paintings, viewers can see real people: strong workers, simple farmers, charming women… The people in his paintings have become model characters for paintings of his time.”

Quan appreciated works by Ngoc on various materials.

“Each work is a historic treasure itself,” he said.

Ngoc was among the best students studying at the Indochina College of Fine Arts (1939-44).

“His female characters are neither poetically-inspired, nor romantic, nor really perfect,” said Quan. “They are, instead, always real flesh and blood people.”

“Ngoc’s aesthetic appreciation differs from that of his predecessors, similar to the way that Courbet’s aesthetic concepts differed from both romanticism and impressionism,” he added. “This highlights the most important contribution of Ngoc in shaping the aesthetics of fine arts in Vietnam in the mid-20th century.”

Painter Luong Xuan Doan showed his admiration for Ngoc’s illustration paintings for short stories printed on newspaper.

“Together with other colleagues like Bui Xuan Phai, Nguyen Sang, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Van Cao, Nguyen Van Ty, Duong Bich Lien, Mai Van Hien… painter Nguyen Sy Ngoc has made considerable contributions to the art of illustration on newspapers in Vietnam between the 1950s and 1980s,” Doan said.

“He reads widely, understands life, people,” he said. “He just needs some sudden and sharp strokes to feature the main contents of the stories. His illustrations are like historical paintings in the whole Great History by paintings of Vietnamese Literature and Arts.”

Between 1945 and 1954, Ngoc joined the August Revolution and drew posters for the Viet Minh. He then worked as one of the first lecturers of the Viet Nam University of Fine Arts.

He has been awarded various honours by the State like the third grade Independence Medal and the third grade Labour Medal.

Ten years after he died in 2000, he was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize in Literature and Arts for his group of four lacquer paintings on soldiers and people during the wars he painted between 1949 and 1980.

His exhibition is running at the museum on 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, till December 30. 

Source: Vietnamnet

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