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Late artist Nguyen Tu Nghiem’s works on display in rare exhibition

This rare opportunity for art lovers to see the artist’s works is being held to honour his career, which spanned over 70 years in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The lacquer painting 'Saint Gióng' by artist Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm.

Twenty-six paintings by the late artist Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm are on display at the Ngàn Phố Gallery in Hà Nội in an exhibition entitled Trăm năm Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm (Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm - A Hundred Years).

This rare opportunity for art lovers to see the artist's works is being held to honour his career, which spanned over 70 years in the 20th and 21st centuries.

"We want the late artist's creative and human values to be longevity," said the gallery owner Lê Trung Thành. "The name of the exhibition is meaningful. It looks like we always wish each other 'happy forever' and we respect sustainable values as well."

Nghiêm (1922-2016) is considered to be one of the four most influential painters in 20th-century Việt Nam, alongside Bùi Xuân Phái, Nguyễn Sáng, and Dương Bích Liên. He was renowned for his experimentation with new materials in lacquer painting and his success with oil paintings, pastels, and watercolours.

In the 1955-1970 period, Nghiêm drew several lacquer paintings with simple yet striking colours, depicting everyday life in towns and the countryside. He also creatively included motifs of ancient dances and the image of Saint Gióng in his works.

A painting by Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm from 2003.

Many artists and local art lovers attended the exhibition's opening ceremony.

"The paintings with simple lines attract me," said the exhibition viewer Trần Bảo Trâm. "The colours and rustic lines remind me of childhood memories.

"I think young artists should come to see these works, and surely they will get more painting knowledge which is useful to develop their career."

The artist's works have been offered at auction multiple times. The record price for the artist at auction is US$88,000 for Souvenir du passé (Souvenir of The Past), sold at Christie's Hong Kong in 2022.

The exhibition Trăm Năm Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm runs until February 26. VNS


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