First Generation Artist: École des Beaux-Arts de l’Indochine French Influenced
Nguyễn Văn Tỵ was born on 24 February 1917 in Hanoi. From 1934-35 he undertook his preparatory studies at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de l’Indochine and subsequently enrolled in the 11th diploma class of 1936, from which he graduated in 1941. Fellow classmates included Hoàng Tích Chù and Nguyễn Tiến Chung.
In 1936, Tỵ won first prize at an exhibition organized by Société Annamite D’Encouragement à l’Art et à l’Industrie (Annamese Society for the Encouragement of Art and Industry (SADEAI)), a society of artists and artisans that operated from 1935-39 of which Victor Tardieu was the first chairman. Over the next few years, many of Tỵ’s works were sent abroad to take part in international exhibitions in Paris, Brussels, Indonesia and San Francisco. In the summer of 1942, he visited and painted at Angkor Wat in Cambodia and, in 1943, as part of a cultural exchange with Japan involving Japanese artist Fujita Tsuguharu (1886-1968), Tỵ was invited with Nam Sơn and Lương Xuân Nhị to research and exhibit in Tokyo, Kyoto and Kobe. From 1943-1944, Tỵ worked as a stage decorator for Thế Lữ Theater Company in Hanoi.1
“In the late 1930s and 1940s, titanium white powder was not available to colour lacquer paintings. So, he used a large amount of eggshells and oyster shells to get the white colour in his lacquer paintings… We are proud of Nguyễn Văn Tỵ because of his efforts to develop Vietnamese fine art”
Trần Khánh Chương, chairman of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, as quoted in “Fine Arts Association Celebrates Artist’s 100th Birthday,” 27 February 2017, Việt Nam News
In 1946, Tỵ joined the teaching staff of the Vietnam Fine Arts College but, soon after, became involved in the anti-colonial resistance effort. During the August Revolution against the French, Tỵ’s roles included writing for newspapers, making propaganda posters and teaching art students in the Việt Bắc. Tỵ also made art works at the front, including documenting experiences at the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ.
On his return to Hanoi after the First Indochina War, he taught at the Vietnam Fine Arts College (Trường cao đẳng Mỹ thuật Việt Nam), a post that he held until 1969. He was also appointed as the first Secretary General of the Fine Arts Association of Vietnam from 1957-58. During the late 1950s and 1960s, many of Tỵ’s paintings were shown at national art exhibitions. In addition, some of his works were selected in 1960 to be part of a travelling exhibition in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In 1965, his work won the silver medal at an international exhibition of graphic arts in Leipzig in the then Democratic Republic of (East) Germany.
Nguyễn Văn Tỵ passed away in Hanoi on 19 January 1992. In 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Hồ Chí Minh Prize for his contribution to the arts. His works are in the permanent collections of the State Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow and the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi.2
NGUYỄN VĂN TỴ GALLERY
Editions: Thế Giới, 100 Peintres et Sculpteurs Vietnamiens du 20th Siecle, 1996, LIKSIN, Hồ Chí Minh
State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow
Vietnam Fine Art Museum, Hanoi
Private international collections
1937 – SADEAI exhibition
1942 – Solo exhibition in Hanoi
1944 – Solo exhibition in Bắc Giang
1965 – Leipzig Raffia Art Exhibition
1971 – Solo exhibition in Hanoi
1988 – Solo exhibition in Hanoi
1945 – Executive Member of the Central Cultural Association
1946 – Lecturer of the College of Fine Arts of Vietnam
1947-1950 – Member of the Executive Committee of Cultural Resistance, painter of laboratory workshop IV and art teacher in Interzone IV
1951-1954 – Lecturer of the Vietnamese School of Fine Arts in Việt Bắc
1957-1970 – Lecturer of the Vietnam Fine Arts College
1957-1958 – Appointed as the first Secretary General of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association
1957-1970 – Professor at the Vietnam Fine Arts College
1957-1983 – Member of the Executive Board of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, Course I
1957 – Member of the Executive Committee of the Union of Arts and Crafts in Vietnam
1983-1989 – Member of Executive Board of Vietnam Fine Arts Association, Course II
1989-1994 – Member of the Central Art Council III
1937 – Gold Medal at SADEAI exhibition
1939 – Outstanding diploma awarded by SADEAI
1965 – Silver medal at the Leipzig Raffia Art Exhibition
2001 – Posthumously awarded the Hồ Chí Minh Prize
Third Class Independence Medal
Second-Class Resistance Medal
First Class Anti-American Resistance Medal
Medal for the cause of Vietnamese Arts and Arts
REFERENCES AND FOOTNOTES:
- Dr. Le Van Suu, head of the Vietnam Academy of Fine Arts, quoted in Vietnam News.
- Nguyễn Văn Tỵ biography from independent research compiled by Witness Collection.
- Editions: Thế Giới, 100 Peintres et Sculpteurs Vietnamiens du 20th Siecle, 1996, LIKSIN, Hồ Chí Minh
- Vietnam Fine Art Magazine.