Third Generation Artist: Vietnam’s Post-War Socialist Realism
Lương Xuân Đoàn was born in a French maternity hospital (nhà hộ
Interview with Lương Xuân Đoàn at the Sofitel Plaza Hotel inby Witness Collection, 5 May 2008
Due to the
In September 1972, before he finished high school at the vocational college, Đoàn joined the People’s Army of Vietnam (). However, due to the policy at the time to attract young men to join the army before completing their education, Đoàn received his high school graduation certificate that same year.
Đoàn was assigned to Division 304B, a group made up of doctors, students, teachers and artists that acted as a supplementary unit toforces. Not long after joining, in March 1973, Đoàn and his division were sent south along the to Front B3 in the Central Highlands (Tây Nguyên), where Đoàn worked for the Tây Nguyên Liberation Army newspaper (Báo quân giải phóng Tây Nguyên mặt trân B3). In this role, Đoàn followed various units on assignments to sketch and document their daily lives. As the Paris Peace Accords were signed in January 1973, many soldiers based in South Vietnam were allowed to return to their homes in North Vietnam. For Đoàn, however, the army arranged for him and his unit to remain in Military Zone B3 to support any and all remaining troops.
Đoàn remained in South Vietnam until 1975, when, in January, thesent him to study a diploma course at the . Durning 1977 and 1978, while both a student and a soldier, Đoàn was sent on a military assignment to Khánh Hòa Province to sketch and paint naval soldiers in preparation for his final exam. On this assignment he also sketched the scene of what would become one of his most famous paintings. In April 1979, Đoàn was sent by the army to Đồng Đăng in Lạng Sơn Province to record the after effects of the short but bloody conflict with China and the daily lives of the borderlands security (bộ đội biên phòng) based there. The military sent artists like Đoàn to the border to expand their experience of the realities of war, which Đoàn noted in the bodies still lying exposed to the elements when he arrived. His quick sketches, made sometimes without soldiers knowing, were then developed into complete paintings when he returned to .
Đoàn graduated from thein 1980, making a name for himself in his final exhibition by completing a detailed version of what he recorded in Khánh Hòa Province; Sunset over Hòn Tre Island (Hoàng hôn trên đảo Hòn Tre) (1980) was given high marks and set the trend of painting in colour on silk. In the same year, the same painting won first prize at the 10th .
After graduation, and with the rank of Lieutenant, Đoàn started work at the military art workshop of the Political Department of Defence (Xưởng mỹ thuật quân đội của bộ quốc phòng tổng cục chính trị). He travelled between a number of units and locations along the
After his return from the Soviet Union in 1985, Đoàn was transferred to the Central Party Propaganda Committee (ban tuyên giáo
He also continued working for the, which he joined in 1983 and, in 2014, was made permanent vice-chairman of the Association. While working with the , Đoàn strongly supported young artists who, after the 1986 economic reformation in Vietnam (đổi mới), pursued new Western artistic styles and drastically changed the aesthetic of Vietnamese art. Although many of these young artists met considerable opposition for their new styles of art, Đoàn sympathised with them and helped them practise and distribute their works. Đoàn himself continued with his own modern art project, experimenting with a new technique of combining a nib ink pen with Chinese brushstrokes to paint oriental abstract art in black and white.
At the end of 2018, Vietnam opened the first Valuation and Appraisal Office to curb the increase of fake
Lương Xuân Đoàn lives in
Editions: Thế Giới, 100 Peintres et Sculpteurs Vietnamiens du 20th Siecle, 1996, LIKSIN, Ho Chi Minh
Exhibition of Forty Years of Painting and Sculpture about Armed Forces, 1944-1984”,
1983-1988 – Executive Committee of the Association of Plastic Artists of Vietnam
1980 – First prize in the
1985 – Third prize in the
Second prize in the Exhibition of Forty Years of Painting and Sculpture about Armed Forces, 1944-1984,
REFERENCES AND FOOTNOTES:
 Hà Bắc Province was divided into Bắc Giang Province and Bắc Ninh Province in 1996.
 Editions: Thế Giới, 100 Peintres et Sculpteurs Vietnamiens du 20th Siecle, 1996, LIKSIN,