Hue Museum displays Le Ba Dang collection in Hanoi

Hue Museum of Fine Arts has sent a collection of Le Ba Dang's works for art lovers in Hanoi to enjoy for the first time.

The artist (1921-2015) was a noted Vietnamese-French painter. Born in Bich La Village in the central province of Quang Tri, he went to Paris in 1939 where he fought in the French Resistance Army against the Nazis.

He was subsequently captured, but after being released he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

The exhibition entitled Khát Vọng Hòa Bình Trong Nghệ Thuật Le Ba Dang (Desire for Peace in Art by Le Ba Dang) includes two parts.

The first part has 40 images and documentaries to review the artist's life and career. The second part features 39 artworks in different mediums.

These works have been selected to the more than 400 the artist presented to the Hue Museum.

Series Chiến Thắng Điện Biên Phủ (Dien Bien Phu Victory) includes 12 paintings which the artist used Chinese-ink and watercolours to create in 1954.

The subtler colours are full of deep feelings about the artist's homeland. The strong colours suggest people going backwards and forwards on a journey to return to their homeland.

Hue Museum displays Le Ba Dang collection in Hanoi

Series Đường Mòn Hồ Chí Minh (Ho Chi Minh Trail) was drawn between 1969-1973. It includes nine oil-on canvas paintings. The black and white paintings are lively so people can see the movement of brush and flow of colours combined with the image and language of light, creating an abstract landscape.

"Although the artist only draws with his imagination, he depicts the legendary Ho Chi Minh trail very honestly and vividly," said Dinh Thi Hoai Trai, director of the Hue Museum.

The exhibition is also a rare chance for visitors to see a sculpture entitled Con Voi (The Elephant). It is from a series made from American B52 planes which were shot down by the Vietnam Air Defence Force in 1972.

Hue Museum displays Le Ba Dang collection in Hanoi

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam's Delegation brought some of the wrecks to France to present to the artist while attending the Paris Peace Accord talks in 1973.

The special material inspired the artist to create a series of unique sculptures which were exhibited at Culturel du Chaperon Vert in France on the occasion of Vietnam's unification in 1975.

Eight posters by Picasso, Pignon and Reyberolle were also displayed at the exhibition. These posters were made in response to the US anti-war movement in Vietnam in the 1960s.

In France, there were also many anti-war movements including the "Day of the Intellectual for Vietnam" movement appealing to intellectuals sign a petition against the war.

Dang signed the petition and the posters to support the movement.

"The works at this exhibition are about the war which is one of the topics the artist was very passionate about," said Nguyen Anh Minh, director of the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts.

"From the bottom of his heart he always followed the national resistance and actively participated in activities to support his homeland."

During his 70-year career, Dang received many titles including an award from the International Institute of St. Louis in 1989 and a medal of recognition of artistic and cultural contributions by the French government in 1994.

In 1992 Cambridge University ranked him as one of the more important artists currently alive. Today, his works are in the collections of the Cincinnati Museum of Art, the Rockefeller Collection in New York and the Phoenix Museum of Art, among others.

The exhibition runs until October 15 at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. VNS

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