Nguyễn Thế Vinh Biography

First Generation Artist: École des Beaux-Arts de l’Indochine French Influenced 

First generation war artist Nguyễn Thế Vinh was born Nguyễn Vĩnh Nguyên in Nghĩa Bình Province in 1926. Vinh participated in the 1945 August Revolution in Đức Phổ District of Quảng Ngãi Province. He worked at the war factory of Tu Nhai until 1946, rising to become a Commissioner.

In 1946, Vinh was promoted to head of the Department of Propaganda for Quảng Ngãi Province until 1954. After documenting the northern harvest, he became the painter of the General Department of Post and Telecommunications from 1959 to 1961. Graduating from the Vietnam Fine Arts College in 1966, Vinh joined Party B as secretary of the Party Cell, became a member of the Mid-Central Association of Musicians and member of Party V from until 1975.

“In communication stations out here, due to my poor health, other soldiers helped me carry my belongings; but at the 17th Parallel that privilege was no longer available. I even had to carry 11kg of additional rice… The doctor advised me to back out (to the North). Even if this kills me, I will crawl to get there, I just need to try for a short time more.”

Nguyễn Thế Vinh in Tran Tuy’s, Letters from the front lines, 1997, Art Today Magazine, No.16, p. 42

Artistic Career

Vinh took part in both the First Indochina War and the Second Indochina War, particularly in Military Zone 5, which inspired most of the work he completed around 1979. In one of his most cherished paintings, he depicted a female guerrilla from one of Vietnam’s many ethnic minority tribes. The lacquer medium is effectively used to show the serene beauty of the woman, with a gun slung over her shoulder the only hint of war, reinforcing his inspiration from highland scenes and cultures.1

Vinh undertook postgraduate studies in Peking from 1967 to 1969. He received the second prize at the 1960 National Fine Arts Exhibition, the third prize from the Armed Forces, as well as the second prize from Hạ Long Literature and Arts in 1985.

Nguyễn Thế Vinh
Portrait of Nguyễn Thế Vinh. Courtesy of Báo Gia Lai.

Later in Life

A trusted member of Vietnam’s art fraternity, Vinh was assigned by martyr artist Hà Xuân Phong to hold 130 of his works and 300,000 đồng from 1973. In 1989, the Literature and Art Association of Quảng Nam-Da Nang held a ceremony for the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum to receive the works held by Vinh, assuming responsibility for the paintings in honour of Xuân Phong’s life and work. General Secretary Hồ Hải Học praised Vinh for saving the invaluable pieces for so long and in such good condition.2

He was awarded second prize by the Quảng Nam-Da Nang Literature and Arts Association in 1989.

Nguyễn Thế Vinh passed away in 1997.3


  • Nguyễn Thế Vinh, 1972, Vietnam highlands (exact location unknown). "Thổi Đing Zơng Auyn; Mùa xuân 1972; Vinh (Playing Đing Zơng Auyn; Spring 1972; Vinh)." "Playing Đing Zơng (?) Auyn; Spring 1972; Vinh." (Note: The girl is possibly playing a khèn, a popular type of flute among minority ethnic groups in Vietnam). Watercolour on machine-made paper. Collection of National Gallery Singapore.


Hội Mỹ Thuật Việt Nam, Nghệ sĩ tạo hình Việt Nam hiện đại (Ký Hệu Hội Viên), 2009, Nhà Xuất Bản Mỹ Thuật, Hà Nội

General Editors, Nguyễn Thế Vinh, FA Magazine, 1997, No. 15, Hà Nội


Vietnam Fine Art Museum, Hanoi

International private collections

Official Roles4

1946-1954 – Head of the Propaganda Department of Quảng Ngãi Province

1957-1983 – Member of the Executive Board of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association (supplemented in 1968)

1959-1961 – Painter of the General Department of Post and Telecommunications

1965-1975 – Secretary of the Party B Cell, Member of the Mid-Central Association of Musicians and member of Party V

1983-1989 – Member of the Executive Board of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association

Executive Editor, Secretary of the editorial board, deputy editor of the Journal of the Arts

1980-1986 – Secretary of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association


1960 – Second Prize in the National Fine Art Exhibition

1985 – Second prize from Ha Long Literature and Arts in.

1989 – Quang Nam Culture Award – Danang

1984 – Art Show Award for the Armed Forces and the Revolutionary War

1985 – Second prize from Ha Long Literature and Arts

Third Class Resistance Medal

Order of First Class Winner

Anti-American resistance war first class

Medal for the cause of Vietnamese Arts and Arts

Medal for the cause of Vietnamese art

Badge of 40 years old Party

2007 – State Prize for Literature and Art II


  1. From a label attached to painting by Nguyễn Thế Vinh, recorded and translated on 5 April 2011, Witness Collection.
  2. Nguyễn Thế Vinh and matyr artist Ha Xuan Phong, 1989, Fine Art Magazine of Visual Artists Association of Vietnam, No.3.
  3. Nguyễn Thế Vinh’s biography from notes taken during interview with the artist in February 1987.
  4. Vietnam Fine Art Association Online.

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